LINDEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – New Jersey’s governor-elect rode the rails Saturday.
Phil Murphy has been critical of New Jersey TRANSIT and is calling for major changes. But as CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, some questioned the day of the week he picked and the kind of train he chose to ride.
The cracked and crumbling stairway from platform to parking lot at the Linden train station was just one long-neglected NJ TRANSIT problem the governor-elect saw firsthand on his town-to-town tour.
“Pretty unacceptable, isn’t it?” he told Carlin. “It’s unacceptable.”
Murphy knows riders are fed up with dilapidated infrastructure, repeated delays and the overcrowding they saw this week — crowd jammed into train cars, with many of them having to stand.
“The one thing you got to get right is commuter rail, and we’ve not gotten it right,” he said.
Read More: Demanding Answers: Gov.-Elect Murphy Addresses NJ TRANSIT Crisis
Most of his rides were on light rail. Some riders asked – why not pick the packed trains on a weekday?
“When everyone’s commuting back and forth to the city,” said Max Tanner, of West Windsor. “That’s when he can see NJ TRANSIT at its heart.”
Murphy told Carlin, “I ride a lot of NJ TRANSIT, so I’ve seen it on weekdays plenty.”
“This happens to be the inaugural weekend. We’re doing it today to get to as many communities as possible,” he continued. “But we are very familiar with NJ TRANSIT – the good, the bad and the ugly.”
He said his Saturday tour succeeded in bringing him face-to-face with various city leaders and with residents on trains, in stations and even in crowded diners.
But Murphy says he knows what commuters really want is a more dependable system – big fixes, but not on their backs financially. He suggests new blood and different bosses will be part of the answer.
“We need to put the right leadership in and put the right priorities and vision in place,” he said.
Murphy also says it appears NJ TRANSIT has untapped assets and resources, including real estate that can be leased or better managed to help pay for overdue upgrades.