New York suburban commuters gear up for ‘summer of hell’

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (JULY 7, 2017) (REUTERS) – New York City’s suburban commuters are bracing for the start next week of extensive repairs to the tracks of the United States’ busiest train hub, which Governor Andrew Cuomo dubbed “a summer of hell”.

The work at Pennsylvania Station is due to begin Monday (July 10) and run through Sept. 1, leaving the roughly 600,000 commuters who arrive there each morning from New Jersey and Long Island scrambling for alternate ways into the city.

Ferry operators, bus services and even parking lots are looking to capitalize on the disruption for those who rely on the New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road systems that will be disrupted as Amtrak undertakes $40 million in track repairs.

Bearing the brunt of the transit upheaval are 23,000 daily riders on the popular one-seat ride New Jersey Transit Morris & Essex Midtown Direct line.

Disruptions are set to begin with their weekday morning commute, when 7,400 of those customers will be diverted to Hoboken, New Jersey, requiring at least one additional step to get into Manhattan – typically either under the Hudson River on PATH trains or over it on the NY Waterway Ferry.

David Alan, chair of the Lackawanna Coalition, a nonprofit civic organization that represents the Morris & Essex line’s riders criticized the plan and said he expects commuter confusion at Hoboken on Monday.

“What’s convenient for management is not necessarily convenient for the riders. They’re mad. They weren’t consulted. Their representatives weren’t consulted. They don’t see why they should have to put up with this when no one else does.”

The delays will take a toll on the city’s economy, with Manhattan employers expected to lose an estimated $14.5 million for every hour that train commuters from New Jersey and Long Island are delayed, according to an estimate by the Partnership for New York City.