NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - New Jersey transportation officials released their contingency plans Thursday in case of a rail strike by NJ Transit rail workers.
Unions representing rail workers have authorized a strike to begin 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, March 13 if an agreement is not reached.
The two sides have been meeting before a national mediation board in Washington to try and settle differences over wage and health care increases.
While NJ Transit's desire to have employees pay more money for health insurance premiums is one of the major issues, a union official said everything is on the table.
In the event of a rail work stoppage, no rail service will operate on any NJT rail line -ED Martin— NJ TRANSIT (@NJTRANSIT) March 3, 2016
A strike could create massive gridlock in New Jersey. New Jersey Transit trains provide roughly 300,000 passenger trips each weekday.
There is anticipated to be more than 10,000 additional cars on the roads during peak hours.
This contingency plan includes adding capacity to existing New York commuter bus routes in close proximity to rail stations, contracting with private carriers to operate bus service from key regional park-ride locations during weekday peak periods, increasing capacity on its three light rail systems, and maximizing use of the available capacity on PATH and ferry service.
"A rail stoppage would have a severe impact on travel in the entire region, as capacity constraints on both our public transportation system and our road network limit our ability to accommodate every displaced rail customer," said NJ TRANSIT Interim Executive Director Dennis Martin. "NJ TRANSIT will operate a plan that the overall system and region can safely handle to accommodate as many customers as possible who absolutely must travel into and out of New York, bearing in mind that bus service cannot replicate the railroad."
In developing its contingency plan, NJ TRANSIT says it focused available resources on the largest segment of its rail customer base-the New York-bound customer.
Approximately 105,000 customers make up the total rail-based interstate market, including customers who transfer from NJ TRANSIT rail to PATH trains at Hoboken Terminal and Newark Penn Station. Through a combination of added capacity to existing New York bus routes, operation of a regional park/ride service, and private carriers adding capacity where possible to their own bus routes that parallel rail corridors, NJ TRANSIT estimates that it can carry approximately 40,000 New York customers.
"If a rail stoppage occurs, NJ TRANSIT customers as well as people who normally drive to work should understand that this will not be a normal commute for anyone-particularly with the potential for more than 10,000 additional cars on the road per peak hour," said Martin. "As part of our contingency planning, we have reached out to a broad range of employers and business organizations in New Jersey and New York to alert them to the potential stoppage, and we have strongly encouraged them to allow their employees to telecommute if possible."
Regional Park-Ride Service
Park-ride service will operate on a first come, first served basis from five key regional park-ride lots, weekdays only, during four-hour AM inbound (6 a.m. to 10 a.m.) and four-hour PM outbound (4 p.m. to 8 p.m.) peak periods.
MetLife Stadium to Port Authority Bus Terminal, New York
PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel to New York City (Academy)
Hamilton Rail Station to Newark Penn Station PATH
Metropark Rail Station to Harrison PATH Station
Ramsey/Route 17 Rail Station to Lincoln Harbor Ferry, Weehawken
No midday, evening, weekend or reverse commute service will operate on these park-ride routes.
The park-ride locations were selected based on their size/parking capacity, access to regional highways, and geographical distribution. Access to area PATH stations and ferry service was also analyzed in an effort to minimize congestion at Hudson River crossings.
Enhanced NJ TRANSIT New York Bus Service
NJ TRANSIT will enhance peak period service on 29 existing New York bus routes in close proximity to rail stations. The routes are as follows:
Northeast Corridor: 108, 112, 115 and 129 bus routes
North Jersey Coast Line: 116 and 133/135 bus routes
Raritan Valley Line: 113 and 114X bus routes
Morris & Essex Lines: 107X and 114X bus routes
Montclair-Boonton Lines: 191X and 324 bus routes
Main/Bergen County Lines: 145, 160L, 160T, 160P, 163P, 164SX, 190P/D, 190R, 190X, 192X
Pascack Valley Line: 151, 162, 163L, 165P, 165R, 165T
In addition, to accommodate Atlantic City Rail Line customers, NJ TRANSIT will enhance service on the 554 bus route, which operates between Atlantic City and Lindenwold.
Other NJ TRANSIT Services
Rail: In the event of a stoppage, no rail service will be provided on the Northeast Corridor (including the Princeton Branch/Dinky), North Jersey Coast, Morris & Essex (including Gladstone), Main/Bergen County, Montclair-Boonton, Raritan Valley, Pascack Valley, Atlantic City, and Port Jervis lines.
Bus: To lessen traffic congestion and delays at the Lincoln Tunnel and to take advantage of the proximity to connecting PATH and ferry service, NJ TRANSIT will make the following service adjustments in the event of a rail stoppage:
o The 156R, 158 and 159R bus routes serving the River Road corridor will terminate at the Port Imperial Ferry Terminal in Weehawken on weekdays, for cross honoring with connecting NY Waterway ferry service. Weekend service will operate on its regular route to/from New York.
o The 126 bus route in Hoboken will operate on a reverse routing on weekday mornings, beginning at Willow Avenue and 19th Street and operating south to Hoboken Terminal, for cross honoring with PATH and ferry service. In the evening, the bus route will operate from Hoboken Terminal back to Willow Avenue and 19th Street. Weekend service will operate on its regular route to/from New York.
Light Rail: Newark Light Rail, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and River Line service will operate regular weekday schedules with extended peak hour service.
Access Link: Service will operate normally, however customers should anticipate longer travel times as a result of anticipated increases in traffic, and additional passengers in vehicles.
All existing valid rail tickets and passes with an origin or destination of New York will be accepted for travel on all park-ride service, and will be cross-honored on NJ TRANSIT buses and light rail lines, private carrier buses, PATH and NY Waterway.
Customers who do not already have a ticket or pass may purchase round-trip tickets to/from New York during morning hours on site from the park-ride locations. Round-trip tickets for regional park-ride service will also be available via MyTix, NJ TRANSIT's mobile ticketing app.
Fares from regional park-rides are based on the existing fares from those locations. Adult, senior/disabled, and child fares will be available, as follows:
ORIGIN DESTINATION ADULT ROUND TRIP FARE SENIOR/DISABLED
ROUND TRIP FARE CHILD ROUND TRIP FARE
MetLife Stadium Port Authority Bus Terminal $11.00 $4.90 $4.90
Ramsey/Rt 17 Lincoln Harbor Ferry Terminal $24.50 $11.40 $11.40
Metropark Harrison PATH Station $21.50 $9.80 $9.80
Hamilton Newark Penn Station for PATH connection $32.50 $14.70 $14.70
PNC Arts Ctr. New York $36.00 $18.00 $18.00
NJ TRANSIT rail tickets and passes will be cross-honored on all NJ TRANSIT bus and light rail lines as well as on private carrier buses and PATH trains. Passes also will be cross-honored on all NY Waterway service including Weehawken, Hoboken and North Hoboken, as well as Seastreak services into Manhattan.
Web Site and Travel Information
NJ TRANSIT has created a special section on njtransit.com with links to the latest travel information across modes.
Information on NJ TRANSIT's website is available in 14 languages using Google Translate. To use a language other than English, click on "Translate This Site" at the lower right corner of the homepage and click on the language of your choice.
Customers may also access NJ TRANSIT's Twitter feed at @NJTRANSIT or listen to broadcast traffic reports. Additionally, NJ TRANSIT will provide the most current service information via the My Transit alert system (www.njtransit.com/mytransit), which delivers travel advisories for your specific trip to your smartphone. Service information is also available by calling (973) 275-5555.
About NJ TRANSIT
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 938,500 weekday trips on 257 bus routes, three light rail lines, 12 commuter rail lines and through Access Link paratransit service. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 165 rail stations, 62 light rail stations and more than 19,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.
NJ Transit enlisted Sam Schwartz, the former NYC transportation commissioner and consultant who worked with the agency on it's plans for the visit of Pope Francis last year.
With the Associated Press