Posted Thursday, March 3rd, 2016
In the event of a mid-March NJ Transit rail stoppage, the Port Authority will be cross-honoring NJ Transit rail passengers on PATH trains as capacity allows, and is preparing at its bridges, tunnels and bus stations to handle an expected increase in riders and vehicles, including buses, where possible.
Given the regional transportation network’s inability to accommodate all NJ Transit rail riders affected by a potential rail stoppage, which could come as soon as Sunday, March 13, commuters should expect significant congestion and are urged to leave extra time at the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, PATH rail stations and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Heavier traffic also is anticipated at the George Washington Bridge and Staten Island bridges.
Commuters should consider traveling before or after the rush hour peak times, during off-peak hours, carpooling, and using added bus, light rail and ferry services, particularly to downtown and midtown Manhattan. Employers are asked to consider telecommuting options for employees where feasible, or instead stagger, compress or otherwise modify work schedules to help reduce congestion during peak hours.
The Port Authority encourages anyone attempting to drive into and out of Manhattan during any rail stoppage to carpool and travel at off-peak hours. Agency officials will monitor conditions as warranted to maintain traffic flow, and will coordinate with the states of New York and New Jersey, the City of New York and other local jurisdictions. The Port Authority will provide additional information on its website, www.panynj.gov, with frequent agency alerts and social media posts to keep its travelers up to date on commuting issues and options.
For information regarding NJ Transit’s contingency plans, please visit www.njtransit.com.
The following Port Authority facilities, services and other systems are expected to be impacted by a rail stoppage:
On the PATH rail system, efforts will be made to maximize utilization of capacity during the peak weekday morning and evening hours on the Newark to World Trade Center, Journal Square to 33rd Street and the Hoboken to 33rd Street and Hoboken to World Trade Center lines. PATH will be cross-honoring NJ Transit rail passengers on its system.
PATH riders needing to switch to uptown subway lines can travel to the PATH World Trade Center Station, which offers easy access to the MTA subway system, to minimize congestion at the Journal Square and Newport stations.
Port Authority Bus Terminal/Tunnel and Bridge Crossings
Motorists and bus riders planning to travel to New York from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and to New Jersey from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. should allow additional travel time and expect significant delays and crowded conditions. All inbound and outbound services at the bus terminal could face heavy volume and extensive delays, particularly during the morning and afternoon commutes.
The Lincoln Tunnel Exclusive Bus Lane (XBL), a contra-flow bus lane serving the Port Authority Bus Terminal, will be operational one hour earlier than normal, starting at 5 a.m., to ease typical morning traffic flow into the tunnel and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. It will remain in operation an hour later, until 11 a.m., to further encourage bus carriers and riders to travel outside peak travel hours.
The agency will be adding towing capacity at tunnel and bridge crossings in the event of accidents or vehicle breakdowns that might further impede traffic flow.
The agency also urges commuters to consider ferries as an alternate means of travel between New Jersey and New York. Thousands of ferry seats are expected to be available to passengers using ferries as a commuting option. Commuters are encouraged to take advantage of ferry service near the Hoboken PATH station, given the expected passenger increases on PATH trains to New York.
In addition, the NJ Transit #126 bus route in Hoboken will operate on a reverse routing system on weekday mornings, beginning at Willow Avenue and 19th Street and running south to Hoboken Terminal, for cross-honoring with PATH and nearby ferry service. During evening commutes, the bus route will go from Hoboken Terminal back to Willow and 19th. Weekend service will operate on its regular route, to and from New York.
At Newark Liberty, with no rail service along the Northeast Corridor (NEC), travelers should expect delays and seek alternative transportation to and from the airport. With anticipated road congestion, air travelers also should allow extra travel time to John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International airports. Travelers can check with Amtrak at https://www.amtrak.com/train-schedules-timetables for information on its service to Newark Liberty.
Port Authority Police
The Port Authority Police Department will be increasing its presence at the Hudson River crossings to assist with traffic flow, as well as on the PATH system to handle any contingencies. Additional bridge and tunnel agents will be on hand to respond more quickly to stalled cars and accidents.
Where to go for additional information
Extra Port Authority staff will be on duty at transit stations to provide enhanced information for passengers in the event of a rail stoppage.
Travelers using Port Authority crossings are encouraged to sign up for the agency’s alerts at http://www.paalerts.com/ or follow @PANYNJ on Twitter and Facebook for additional information. Information on travel conditions also is available on 511 or online at www.511NY.org and www.511NJ.org .
For information on the ferry service, please visit: http://www.panynj.gov/commuting-traveling/ferry-transportation.html