Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dear New Jersey Transit

Dear NJ Transit Customer Service Team,

A commuter waits for his train to arrive early in the morning—he watches the minutes pass by on his cell phone. Looks like he won’t get that big promotion after all—not after being late for today’s important meeting.

Inside Penn Station: a college student. She’s supposed to head home for her grandmother’s 100th birthday party. Instead, she takes a bite of her second Auntie Anne’s pretzel. Sorry, grandma, I hope you make it to 101.

And on a train: a baby. The moving of the train rocks this particular baby to sleep. But the train isn’t moving so the baby cries. NJ Transit makes babies cry.

Ben Franklin once said that there are only two things certain in life: death and taxes. But Ben Franklin lived in Pennsylvania. If he had lived in New Jersey, he would’ve said, there are only three things certain in life: death, taxes, and that New Jersey Transit is a stinky turd.

We are not halfway through August, and already this month, travelers have been subjected to constant cancellations, massive delays, and trips on the PATH to Newark inside packed train cars with crowding similar to what our ancestors faced when they traveled through Ellis Island. You would think that after 227 years of existence the Garden State would be able to come up with an efficient commuter rail system. But, instead of getting people where they need to be on time, NJ Transit has adopted the persona of the always late and panicked White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.

Pictured: Me after another delay.
Note how stressed and drained I look.
Adding insult to injury, NJ Transit is far from cheap. I pay $361 for a monthly pass from Penn Station to Jersey Avenue. When I fork over my hard earned cash, I expect a certain level of service, and NJ Transit has not delivered. Planes offer full or partial refunds when they don’t meet certain standards; why should trains be different?

I formally request a full refund for my August monthly pass. I also suggest a major overhaul of NJ Transit and Penn Station. Because deep down, I still love you, NJ Transit. But I am tired of your cancellations and of playing second fiddle to those elitists over at Grand Central.

Thank you for your time.


Commuter Jeffrey Sperber