A New Jersey Transit train arrives at Hoboken Terminal during morning rush hour

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Murphy: NJ Transit riders, employees will see 'noticeable improvement'

October 09, 2018 - 12:51 pm

METUCHEN, N.J. (1010 WINS/AP) -- Gov. Phil Murphy discussed details of an audit of New Jersey Transit, the statewide transit system he has termed "a national disgrace."

Murphy was at the Metuchen train station on Tuesday, to discuss the audit he ordered after taking office in January.

NJ Transit, one of the nation's largest transit agencies, has been plagued by poor on-time performance, breakdowns and safety issues.

The audit said that NJ Transit needs to improve communication, get more trains running, and improve hiring and training.

Problems came to a head over the summer when an engineer shortage combined with federally mandated safety work caused numerous train cancellations.

Executive Director Kevin Corbet said the agency has already taken steps to address the engineer shortage.

"We're working with an outside rail specialist consultant to reduce the 20 month training process, also ensuring the course produces a safe engineering roster," he said.

He said they will also offer a bonus to conductors who want to become engineers since they have already completed much of the course work and can be trained quickly.

Transit officials have blamed many of the problems on years of under-investment by previous administrations. Governor Murphy said it will take time to see results.

"I believe as we implement the recommendations of this audit, the fare paying public and NJ Transit's dedicated employees will begin to see real and noticeable improvement," he said.

NJ Transit is scrambling to meet a Dec. 31 federal deadline to install a systemwide emergency braking system.