LETTER: Port Authority lacks basic understanding of commuter needs
To The Editor:
A trip to New York City from New Jersey is, well, a trip. There are four primary routes you can take. You can drive, ride a bus, take a train or, for the Captain Ahab's among us, take a ferry. Each has its benefits. The ferry is great, except if it's cold, or hot, or you don't live near a ferry terminal, which really is most of us. Driving, well don't even consider it, you planet-killing petro-maniac. The reasonable options left, not considering a human cannonball ride from the Palisades, is the train or bus. Neither of these options is great.
NJ Transit, our nation's third-largest mass transit system, is notably unreliable, the train is expensive, $28 for a round trip! And it can be a long ride. Local trains are surprisingly local, slowing down before they've left the station. And don't even bother with Penn Station, the busiest and quite possibly worst train station east of the whole entire world. This leaves us New Jersey residents with one option really: a bus. Just like the one you are on now, Rutgers student. It's (usually) reliable, (usually) fast and affordable — check out the SAC, where there are cheap bus tickets for everyone! The main gripe with bus service into Manhattan is the destination — the aged, tired and inefficient Port Authority Bus Terminal. The Terminal has been at capacity for decades. It makes commuting a torturous experience for those who use it, and it slows down commuters all over New Jersey, thanks to its inability to handle this traffic.
The Port Authority says they get it — they are looking to build a new terminal. That's awesome! But it seems the Authority bigwigs never actually use their own infrastructure. Some members have not ironically suggested a terminal in New Jersey, with an additional train ride into Manhattan. Quite possibly the more absurd infrastructure project since, well, Port Authority's plan to waste billions extending the PATH to Newark Airport.
There is a fundamental lack of understanding of its customers and the public that the Port Authority Board is making very clear. I would hope they listen to reason and the commuters who use the terminal, when they build our nation's next overpriced, and way overdue infrastructure masterwork.
Jacob Nieman is an Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy Class of 2015 alumnus.
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