How N.J. Transit Failed a Visiting New Yorker

How New Jersey Transit Failed a Visiting New Yorker


Since there has been so much talk about the Highland Avenue station, and I am a frequent commuter on N.J. Transit I will share some of my experiences. Well, this one was a particularly disappointing one.

My sister and I, who still lives in my hometown of the Bronx, spent a beautiful day in the city. We visited Spa Castle on 57th street, had dinner and she said she wanted to come visit me in the Valley. She enjoys Hat City Kitchen, and we share a friend with blogger and bar tender there, Marie. I was excited because I always have to ask my sister to come, so it was cool she suggested coming out on her own.

Like I have said before, it is hard for my New York friends and family to come out here due to getting to New Jersey. So I hope that whenever they do visit, the commute is decent so they can come back and enjoy everything that the Valley Arts District here in Orange/West Orange has to offer. So they want to come back and it does not feel like they are inconvenienced getting to and fro.

On this spring day, it was a chance to get my sister hooked on the Valley. The warm weather is coming, and I want New Yorkers to look at the Valley as a destination to come to. But the commute should NOT be a nightmare. On the way there, we ran into some trouble transferring at Newark Broad Street, but after only a 20 minute delay we made it to Highland avenue.

I took her by the new Era Artist Collective studio since she hadn’t been since some of the artists from Ironworks moved there. We listened to some of Ray (SYKEZ) and Earl’s (Juice) new music as they prepare for a big 2017 tour. Then we were able to have some drinks at Hat City Kitchen. It was all in all a good time. I loved that a lot of my friends were also hanging out at Hat City, Tyree, and Amonnie. I was able to show her how fun the Valley is, and how many young and cool people are here.

But then it came time for her to go home. We were all having a good time, but I was forced to tell Le’Trice to cut it short and catch the 8:35pm train because the next train was a whole 2 hours later at 10:07pm! From Highland Avenue train station. And that train, the travel time was going to be 55 minutes, and would have to transfer at Newark Broad Street and wait there for almost a half hour. That was already a little bit of a downer but I was used to the weekday schedule.

I wanted Ray and Earl to walk with us to the train station because there has been a lot of stuff going on. The train was on time, but it took her 2 hours just to get to Penn Station. She recounts the train staff not giving her any answers, standing still for almost an hour at a time. She did not touch ground in New York until 10:23pm. As someone with short patience, I know that this nightmare of a commute could ruin my whole day. Even if I had the best time of my life. This is what was disappointing.

This was a great opportunity to open up this lane for New Yorkers to want to spend some time here in the Valley Arts District. But now, with social and word of mouth, if our friends back home here of this, they will think twice about coming out to an event I invite them to. No one wants to look forward to an annoying ride home. That can be the make or break of visitorship to our community.

And to add insult to injury, the following day because of a brush fire, trains between New York and Newark were suspended for a couple hours. Leaving me feeling a little stranded in New York, when I only planned to be there for a couple hours. It was just not a good week for New Jersey Transit. It was actually a big fail.

This was the worst  New Jersey experience ever, I sat between [New York] Penn Station and Jersey for way too long. As far as visitng Jersey again, I dont want to if I dont have to come on the weekdays and i wont leave at night. – Le’trice DeShon

I have mentioned that I am tired of talking about the train station, but now I can understand the frustration. Stops at Highland Avenue need to be more frequent on weekdays with less travel time. It almost makes it impossible to have a comfortable time here that live in other regions. You have to sacrifice your fun by catching an early train or get home really late because of the late trains and long travel times.

Orange station is only 2 minutes away when you are on the train going between Highland Avenue and Orange train station. Orange has more frequent and direct trains that go straight to New York City. Sometimes I get frustrated and take an Uber to Orange just to catch a direct train because it seems more convenient. That is more money I am spending and it gets complicated when I am coming home from New York and need to get to Highland Avenue. Sometimes they want to charge me extra because I bought a round trip ticket at the Orange station the previous day.

Come on New Jersey Transit, you gotta do better. There is a lot of hype around the Garden State right now and you could be the wet mud that keeps it down and always inferior to the Big Apple.

Read my past comments about the train station here:

and visitorship to the Valley Arts District here:

Have you had a bad experience with New Jersey transit? Comment below:

Written by Patricia Rogers

One response to “How N.J. Transit Failed a Visiting New Yorker

  1. While a lot of lip service goes on about encouraging the use of public transportation vs autos, cabs, etc., in reality prices go up, while schedules and convenience go down. I often travel to Penn Station NY from Orange Station on weekends. Because it’s an hourly schedule, I get there at least 15 minutes early, and get to enjoy the cold winter weather, and the rain while sitting outside because the station waiting room is closed on weekends. Ditto for the East Orange station. The most comfortable, safest, and fastest way to travel between NYC and East Orange is to go to Newark Penn Station & get a cab home from there. Convenient, but not cheap! Although there is a current trend for new multi family housing near train stations (i.e Orange, East Orange, South Orange) apparently NJ Transit management hasn’t noticed. Perhaps it should be mandatory that Port Authority officials ride the rails, instead of limos!

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