People helping people as they get from here to there

The Thursday PM Post-Sandy “State of the Commute”

November 1st, 2012  |  Published in CCP

Summary/Scorecard

  • Metro North riders generally had a good cost-free commuting  day. In many cases, it was a normal commute. I’d call it a “B+”
  • LIRR has uneven day…yes, a free ride…in those places where there was service. We grade it a “B”
  • NJ Transit Trains was “N/A” since they are not running…so that’s “incomplete”
  • Same for PATH
  • Clever Commute serves two large bus communities: Decamp and Coach USA (East Brunswick)…so we have lots of feedback on that below
  • Car drivers who left early seemed to do OK. If you drove in later…it had the potential to be bad
  • As the day went on, we also heard from NJ Transit bus riders…but we don’t have full info on that

How to use this guide:

  • It is organized by carrier and then by line (where applicable)
  • Each paragraph (or collection of bullets) is a first-hand vignette from an individual commuter
  • Scroll through or use your browser’s “search” feature to look for content of interest
  • For more info about Clever Commute (including how to contact us, see this page)
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Metro North – Harlem Line

White Plains to GCT
The 7:41 was about 15 minutes late, so the platform was very crowded. The train came in full so everybody squeezed on. Those of us who travel out of White Plains every day know that the 8:01 train just a few minutes behind it (it was on time) comes from the yard after one stop and would come in empty.  So yes it was very crowded unless you waited the two minutes for the empty train which had plenty of seats.  It was the classic example of being a clever commuter vs a regular one

No fare collection, plenty of announcements saying conditions were slippery, we would get there just we were going to be moving slower.

If your regular train was the 7:41 you were very late, very crowded, and very unhappy. If you take the 8:01, you noticed virtually no difference in your daily ride.

  • Greenwich to Grand Central
  • No crowds
  • ~ 45 minutes
  • They didn’t even check my ticket
  • Regular schedule
  • It was smooth sailing. Great job by MetroNorth!

I’m a displaced New Haven line rider staying with family in New York. Took 8:24 am express out of North White Plains on Harlem line to Grand Central. Got a seat with no problem and arrived at 9:40 with no issues. Pretty much a non-event, which was a nice surprise.

  •  Chappaqua to GCT
  • Train had some seats in Chappaqua, few after Pleasantville
  • 1 hour—no complaints there
  • no fare as promised

Train came to Chappaqua around 7:40-7 minutes late. Better service than after a snow storm, it got pretty crowded, but what do you expect?

  •  From Fleetwood to Grand Central
  • Slightly more crowded than usual on an early train
  • about 35 min, slightly longer than usual
  • free and there were Metro North guys in the station telling people it was free and not to purchase tickets. There were two other Metro North guys inspecting the elevators
  • 645 am departure from Fleetwood, normal schedule. It was a few minutes late, but no big deal.
  • The people running the train seemed new to their jobs — they didn’t seem to know where to stop in the Fleetwood station (moved back and forth a number of times before opening the doors) and there were a lot of announcements among themselves during the ride about opening the doors, etc. But overall was great that it was almost normal so soon, and I was really happy they got us moving again!

Metro North – New Haven Line

  • Rye to Grand Central
  • Heard regular trains were running arrived early for the 6:52, was told 6:34 would be next train and running 10 minutes late.
  • That never showed up. No mention of the 6:52. Next announcement at 7:10 that the 7:09 would be 10-15 minutes late.
  • I was freezing with wet hair (no power for hairdryer) and left about 7:20. A friend said train came at 7:20 and took about and then crawled into city stopping at each station.
  • Have no clue what schedule was followed.
  •  New Haven, STM to GCT
  • Took “express” with very few people on the train. Prior train was late and may have been SRO.
  • No collection. Conductors and passengers in good spirits considering.
  • 7:49 stm to gct
  • Train Time is down, so watch the board for changes. Trains were limited to 40mph due to slippery rail.

I took the Metro-North New Haven Line from New Rochelle to Grand Central. The posted schedule was supposed to be as it is for a normal day. However, the 8:15 train never materialized, and the 8:30 train changed from an express to a local and got in about 10 minutes later than usual. The trains were blissfully empty. Tickets were not collected. Otherwise, all was normal, except for the News 12 reporter and videographer conducting interviews about storm aftermath, first on the platform and then on the train.

  •  New Rochelle to GCT
  • Normally populated train, on a normal schedule, about 15 minutes late in arriving at New Ro and a little later than that into GCT
  • Delightful ride

Metro North Miscellaneous 

8:28 scarsdale to grand central- 10 minutes late/ went slower than normal. Train was less cars but half empty

I commute from Scarsdale. The train pulled in as I got to the track at 6;45AM. No problem today

  •  MNR NH. STM GCT 5:36 am. Left 2min late, train was empty.
  • Arrived at ~7:12 since the train kept slipping.
  • Announcements explained what was going on and made clear tix were on the house.
  • New train. Way better than driving.

Larchmont to GCT 7.30 AM train: No fair collected, 3/4 full. about 20 minutes late. Moved well at less than 30 MPH

I drove from Weston to stamford, caught the 6:17 to GCT. Lots of people at Stamford but a full sized train showed up and there were PLENTY of seats. (Parking at the Stmfd station parking lot was filling up fast, not sure how later train riders fared). Train only made about 4 or 5 stops (Greenwich, Port Chester, Rye, Harrison) but took a little over an hour to get in. Train was moderately full but not overly packed. I sat by myself in a two-seater. Conductors never asked for tkts.

LIRR – Ronkonkoma

  • Farmingdale to penn
  • 903 In – no crowds. Got seats. Lots of space
  • 9am in. 9 min late in fdale. 15 min late at penn.
  • 408 out – packed. Standing all the way down aisles
  • 408 out left 6 mins late
  • Free. No collectors.
  • Hourly schedule
  •  Bethpage to Penn Station
  • There were a lot of people. We were sardined at Mineola. But everyone on the platform got on, and everyone – for the most part – was polite and didn’t complain. There was one man on my train who was obnoxious about not being able to sit across from a 6-foot-plus guy in the flip down seats, but it was very orderly and quiet.
  • No fare collections.
  • The train was supposed to arrive at 6:08, but didn’t arrive until almost 6:25 because of equipment problems.
  • Then we traveled at a slow rate of speed because of debris and “slip slide.” We also stopped at Hillside Facility. We got to Penn around 7:30.
  • The one amusing part: The conductor advised passengers to exit at Jamaica to take shuttle buses to avoid crowded trains. Like the shuttle buses would be less crowded?
  •  Hicksville-to-Penn.
  • crowds? Normal.
  • No collection.
  • While waiting for the train, the on-platform announcer said that the incoming train was overcrowded and to wait for the next one. The incoming train not only wasn’t overcrowded, but I got one of the last seats. It was a lot better than one of the typical “late” trains that have people all but hanging off the side of the cars.
  • LIRR Ronkonkoma to Atlantic Terminal.
  • Fairly empty parking lot & train (first train out – 6:37), all local stops, at Mineola, they announced that the next stop would be Penn Station.
  • Stopped at Jamaica anyway (thank God).
  • Arrived 8 mins after the connecting train was supposed to have left, but they held it for us and there were plenty of seats.
  • No fares collected at all.
  • 2-3, 4-5 were supposedly running from Atl Term to Borough Hall, but announcements / trains were all messed up and misleading / incorrect.
  • After waiting 12 mins for a subway, wound up taking the B41 bus, but there was so much traffic that I got out and walked.

LIRR – Port Washington

Took the 6:45 AM to NYC from Great Neck. Train made all local stops, no problems.

  • Great Neck to Penn
  • No crowds
  • Normal time for a local from Great Neck
  • No fares charged today and tomorrow
  • Once hourly in each direction, local only
  • Surprisingly smooth

LIRR – Other

I was at jamaica and took a train at about 745 am to penn. I don’t know where it originated but I jumped on. It was not crowded because I think a lot of people either did not trust the railroad or could not reach jamaica. Sine I don’t have power I am staying at my mother in law in queens so I chanced it. The F train is working, I took that from 49 and rockefeller center to forest hills at about 3pm. It was crowded but not too bad and no delays.

LIRR is free today and tomorrow

New Jersey Transit Buses

  • I had to relocate from the Jersey shore. Took njt 107X from so orange train station to port authority. And left work early to catch it back. Gate 213.
  • Needed exact change or a ticket.no free ride in nj!
  • Could not pick up passengers after first few stops coming in due to crowd. Long ride, but it worked
  • Was told today by nj transit that in addition to cross honoring, they are accepting October monthlies thru nov 7th. Have not tried yet. Also – took bus 113x in from Westfield today – took 90 minutes – not bad.

Other  NJ Bus

  • Community Coach #77
  • Northfield Road and Colony Drive East, West Orange – Port Authority NYC
  • – crowds? I was the last person on the bus this morning, the driver did not have to pick me up, but he did – I was almost standing on the steps – this was at 6:45 am. I took the same bus yesterday and it was empty.
  • – how long it took? It look a little more than an hour – today the bus lane was open, yesterday when I went in the bus lane was not open. Major back-up at the toll booth on the turnpike
  • – fare collection/cross-honoring? The driver would not take my NJ Transit ticket yesterday so I did not even try today
  • – what schedule was followed? Normal weekday schedule
  • – any other gotchas? After standing on the bus for more than an hour, I waited on line at the Community Coach window for more than 50 minutes to purchase additional tickets – while they have about 5 windows at the Port Authority, only one was open, this was also the case yesterday. I walked to 7th Avenue and took the 7th Avenue bus to my office, the farebox was covered with a plastic bag. Major backup at the NJ Turnpike toll booth as just beyond the police had set-up barriers so they could check that every vehicle had three occupants.
  • 167T from Teaneck to PABT at 6:40 this morning was fairly empty and quick.
  • Likely because NJ Transit was late in announcing they’d be running. Tomorrow I’d expect it to be more crowded, especially adding usual train riders.
  • I inadvertently showed my Oct. monthly pass (forgetting it’s Nov. 1), and the driver didn’t say anything.

Other Driving

From NJ

  • I drove with 2 other people today. leaving at 7am it took 12 minutes to get to secaucus and then 90 minutes to get to the top of the helix. then 5 minutes into PABT after HOV Filter
  • driving was a disaster today due to HOV filter. if you must commute – take a very early bus. once you get to bus lane – it was smooth sailing
  • No traffic to the tunnel from the city side. Still checking hov so down to one lane w massive tie up including the busses
  • Long long gas line at main ave/passaic exit
  • My driver is from glen ridge – said he waited 3 hjs 27 min for gas this morning at ten in montclair.

Tunnel restrictions don’t apply before 6am. Not sure many realize that.

Decamp Bus

  •  Broad & Watchung 9:40 am
  • Bus was pretty empty, but on the Route 3 service road across from the Olive Garden we stopped for more than 5 minutes and they boarded the passengers from another DeCamp bus onto ours. We asked them why and they didn’t know. I assume it was because both buses were pretty empty and they only wanted to send one in to PABT
  • We arrived at PABT at 10:40

My usual route is NJTransit Train from Bloomfield to NYPenn. I can also walk to a bus stop for DeCamp 33 or 88, and I took that route for approximately 18 years, but recently switched to the train. Both are walkable for me, but Port Authority is much closer to work.

Yesterday morning, a colleague drove in, and it wasn’t a bad commute at all. I generally travel starting at 9:00 a.m. (need to be at work at 10:00 a.m.), but we left at 8:30 and were in midtown by 9:30.

This morning, I got on a DeCamp 33M at Broad and Liberty in Bloomfield at 9:19 a.m. (right on schedule). Route 3 was pretty easy; we flew to the Meadowlands, then slowed down a bit. The bus lane was still open; I was at the Port Authority just after 10:00 a.m. DeCamp honored my

  • From Union & Orange in Montclair to PABT
  • picked up at 635am; bus was half full when it got on Rt. 3
  • 75 minutes –bottleneck at gas stations; rubbernecking at the HOV verification point;
  • Full fare
  • The fact that DeCamp fails to have ticket kiosks at PABT made the line to buy tickets extraordinarily long – 40+ deep
  • DeCamp #33 Grove St. bus
  • Montclair to Port Authority – started in Montclair on Grove St., south of Watchung Ave.
  • I waited nearly 90 minutes for a bus (during which I called DeCamp twice and they assured me the bus was running) – and TWO buses ultimately arrived simultaneously!
  • Bus was not full, and they were cross-honoring. Trip took maybe 45 minutes – not excessive given the Lincoln Tunnel traffic – but that 90-minute delay was ridiculous. “What schedule was followed?” I have absolutely no idea.
  • Watchung Plaza Montclair / Port Authority
  • NO crowds – only another rider waiting with me.
  • Into NYC – about 1:10 minutes — there was traffic on three – but once
  • the bus settled into the bus lane we sailed. The driver navigated there to advance quite nicely.
  • Yes, the bus was on time at Watchung Plaza.
  • No, I thought the driver was nice — the bus drivers were in constant communication trying to figure out best routes – and the dispatcher at Port Authority (around 1 PM) suggested I take the 33 back home since
  • delays were already a possibility and the 66 was not at the station yet. I took her advice and was in Montclair (not my usual stop) in about 40 minutes.
  •  Harrison Avenue and Tichenor Plac (near Nishuane Park) around 9:15 am
  • Bus was empty when we got on. Cross-honored NJT train pass. Took Harrison to Bloomfield and then took a right. Took left on Grove and went all the way up with slight detour around fallen tree zone.
  • Few pickups and bus was 2/3rds empty. Continued to 46 and then to I-80 and Turnpike and straight into bus lane. Saw crazy lines at the HOV checkpoint. Total travel time to PABT about 70 minutes.
  • I have no idea what schedule it was on because I don’t have one and can’t get it from website. Tried to get one at PABT but the line for tickets was crazy.
  • I waited for the DeCamp 66 at Valley and Lorraine from about 8:15 until about 9:10. Then I got a message from a friend who was heading to the NJT Allwood Park and Ride bus stop. I’d never used that route before, but decided to join him. As we drove to the Allwood stop, we were passed by the 66 bus, which had finally come.
  • We got to the Allwood Park and Ride at about 9:30. The bus came within 5 minutes. Driver cross-honored my NJT train ticket.
  • In spite of cars being backed up for miles, our driver deftly worked his way into the Express Bus Lane, which (I overheard his radio call) had been kept open an extra hour.
  • We arrived at the PABT just at 10am. I felt very very lucky.
  •  33M/88 (Used the 33 this morning)
  • Bloomfield (Broad and Glen Ridge Pkway) to PABT
  • What you experienced:
  • Two buses showed up at around 8am. The first was full but the second only had a handful of people in it. I was the only person at my stop at that time.
  • Rt. 3 was jammed up pretty badly but there were no other buses in the bus lane or in the Lincoln tunnel. We made it to the Port Authority by 9:15, so the entire trip only took about an hour and 15 minutes.
  • I am a regular DeCamp customer and the bus seemed to run as closely to schedule as it ever does.
  • Bellevue Ave/Valley Road to Port Authority
  • took bus at 8 am this morning, regular schedule.
  • Took about 90 minutes because of heavy traffic on Route 3 and Route 495 approaching the Lincoln Tunnel.
  • Otherwise no issues, was grateful to have the service available.
  • The 66 got me at Bellevue & balley at 10 am. Bus lane still open do we dodged the jam & got to the Port at 1036 pretty good.
  • Now I’m On a 330 pm 33grove & we are jammed on rt 3 at Passaic Ave exit. Near dead stop. This does not bode well.
  • Oh turns out it was a giant gas line that we now escaped will get to grove & Alexander by 410. Still pretty good.
  •  I took the 8:57 a.m. bus from Broad and Watchung on both Wednesday and Thursday.
  • The bus came pretty much on time both days, but was significantly more crowded on Thursday morning, presumably from the train spillage.
  • It was standing room only, though the commute into the city took only around 40 minutes. Not too bad.
  • We took the 66 and we were waiting outside the kings on Valley Road by about 8:30AM. We got word (thanks CC) that a prior 66 had turned down bellvue to come across grove. The bus we road on picked us up (maybe 8 on the corner) at 9:15. We got into the PA at about 9:50 after our driver managed to circumvent the major traffic. We took the bus lane in and the helix and tunnel were both almost empty.
  • Bus was about 1/2 full, maybe 2/3rds by the end.
  • One rider got on the bus just after we did and used a ticket for the 33/grove line offering to pay any difference. Driver said no problem and no $ exchanged.

I rode a Grove St. Bus from Bellevue Ave in Montclair at 9am. It was on a regular schedule. The bus went up Cooper because Grove was closed ahead. It then went right on Park, right on Bellevue and left onto Grove again. Commute was just about average length. Bus was moderately full because a few buses got bunched up

630 66 ran on time with a 495 delay for HOV checkpoint. Leave time for purchasing tickets at PA as there were long lines early in day and at noon.

6.40 am bus at Watchung Plaza on time and half-full. Trip took approx 70 minutes.

  • Took 9:10 bus (I think) – it arrived at 9:15
  • Bellevue / Upper Montclair station
  • bus was 25% full at best
  • ~ 40 min door to door
  • They didn’t ask for ticket
  • I think it was the normal schedule, don’t know

 Coach USA

  • Coach USA 400 line from Tower Center to Port Authority
  • Usually take the East Brunswick TC but no buses there. Parking permit honored at Towers.
  • Long lines at 6:00AM for a bus every half hour. Waited 45 minutes. Some toll/merge traffic by the tunnel but clear before and after.
  • Free A train uptown and back.
  • Buses back from PA were as available at 4:15 PM
  • East Brunswick,Neilson Plaza to NY PABT
  • Lots of crowds, hundreds
  • 1st bus, arrived full with standings
  • 2nd, bus, empty, took a lot people
  • 3rd bus, empty, I was able to get in there, last seat
  • Coach USA (Suburban Transit) Princeton to PABT line Line 100
  • Kendall Park NJ to PABT
  • – crowds? Standing room only, a lot of people left behind because the buses are getting filled with NJT Train passengers. I was lucky to get a seat.
  • Got to the bus stop at 6:10 am bus came at 7:50 am and we arrived at approx. 9:45 am (supposedly running Saturday service, they skipped first two buses, emailed them and they said Police diverted the buses  Not sure if I believe that.
  • I heard they are forcing people to get off 2 miles before their stop due to road closures and not willing to take detour. I don’t know if it is legal to leave people stranded like that. I heard it was a major drama. I hope that doesn’t happen to me, I will really get angry.
  • East Brunswick, Tower Center to Port Authority
  • Crowded, but everyone was orderly. Very long line but line got short as buses came.
  • 1 hour waiting on line and 1-15mins to Port.
  • yes, crossed honored. Took cash and normal tickets.
  • This morning was Saturday Schedule.
  • Need more buses since 4 different bus lines were combined into one.
  • East Brunswick,Neilson Plaza to NY PABT
  • Lots of crowds, hundreds
  • 1st bus, arrived full with standings
  • 2nd, bus, empty, took a lot people
  • 3rd bus, empty, I was able to get in there, last seat
  • Suburban, Line 500
  • East Brunswick Tower Center
  • Long line, about a 45-minute to an hour wait.
  • I had my monthly pass, but since I couldn’t buy November’s, I was able to use October’s. Otherwise, cash only on the bus. They followed a Saturday schedule.
  • New Brunswick to Port Authority, NYC using monthly NJTransit (they’re honoring today & tomorrow).
  • First bus passed me – already full. 2nd bus half hour later – standing room only; took 2 hours (v. little traffic until near NJTP exit and the Lincoln Tunnel).
  • Otherwise – no problem, considering. Hopefully no worse going home this evening!

 

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