Penn Station Slowly Returning to Normal, but Passengers Still Irritated

Two days after a New Jersey Transit train derailment caused major delays, cancellations, and chaos, Penn Station seemed to be back to its normal hustle and bustle on Wednesday evening, with only a few cancellations and re-routes. But passengers have not forgotten the disorder that accompanied the beginning of the work week, and many are still angry.  Nice lead!

Natalie Zubairu, from Piscataway, New Jersey, was waiting for her husband to meet her after work at the New Jersey Transit tracks in Penn Station so they could catch the train home to Edison station. She said her husband’s commute the last two days had been horrible. She said it took him almost three hours to get into the city on Monday and then two hours on Tuesday.

She rode the train in with him this morning and said that although there were no delays, there did not seem to be enough trains for the number of people that needed to get into the city.

“People were standing up in the train and the platform was just so crowded,” said Zubairu. There were so many people that she and her husband were not able to fit onto the first train and had to wait for the next one.

“People started to get aggravated and started arguing with one another,” said Zubairu. “And you don’t need to be aggravated before you get to work.”

Penn Station seemed to return to its normal flow after a train derailment caused major delays can cancelations at the beginning of the week. (Katryna Perera/NY City Lens)

Penn Station seemed to return to its normal flow after a train derailment caused major delays can cancelations at the beginning of the week. (Katryna Perera/NY City Lens)

Nicole Truillo, from Princeton Junction, New Jersey said that although Wednesday was better compared to the start of the week, she still had to get up 30 minutes early to make sure she made it to work on time.

“It’s highly frustrating. There is always something with New Jersey Transit and the fares are so expensive,” said Truillo.

High fares seemed to be a point of exasperation among many passengers, and the ire isn’t limited to New Jersey commuters.

Saul Ortiz travels into Manhattan via the Long Island Railroad from Massapequa Park. On Tuesday, it took him an additional 40 minutes to get to work and he said he is tired of the constant issues that seem to plague New York City transportation.

“It’s happening too much, and we pay so much and the fares just keep going up,” said Ortiz.

A Peak One-Way ticket on the Long Island Railroad, which means the train either arrives or departs between the hours of 6 a.m to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. ,can cost anywhere between $8.75 to $29.25, depending on the where the passenger is traveling. Monthly passes range in cost from $190 to $500.

“These trains are just so bad, and they won’t put any money into fixing them but they will up the fares,” said Zubairu, whose husband pays close to $400 a month to ride New Jersey Transit.

On the Amtrak side of the station, passengers seemed calmer, with only two cancelled trains, one to Harrisburg and the other to Albany.

Chris Whaul, an operations supervisor for Amtrak, said that the two trains had been cancelled the night before and each passenger had been notified by a telephone call. They were then given the option to transfer their ticket to another route that would stop at the same destination.

“Everything else is running smoothly,” said Whaul. “Hopefully, there will be no cancellations for tomorrow.”

New Jersey Transit released a statement saying passengers should expect delays through the close of service on Thursday. Long Island Railroad and Amtrak have not yet stated an expectation of delays or cancellations into Thursday.