Tuesday, June 12, 2012

NJ TRANSIT Closes the Doors on Weekend Service to New York

The New Jersey Transit Board of Directors approved new standard-frame bike rules for New Jersey Transit trains operating in the Newark (Northern) division (which includes the Northeast Corridor Line from Trenton). As promised, effective July 1st passengers with bikes will once again be permitted to board and alight trains at low platform stations.

Photo by MontclairBobbyB on Flickr
But the news is not all good. The board also approved new time restrictions on weekends for trains that operate to and from Penn Station New York. Trains that arrive in New York between 9 and 12 AM and depart New York between 5 and 8 PM will be off-limits to passengers with standard frame bicycles. Given the limited SEPTA service connections to the Northeast Corridor on weekends, the new rules effectively puts a straight-jacket on weekend day trips to central NJ and NYC. Only one early AM Train which departs Market East Station at 5:40 AM will have connecting bike service to Manhattan.

As a quick guide here are the SEPTA train connections which will not offer connecting bike service to and from Trenton on weekends after June 30th.

Depart Market East (a few minutes later for Suburban Station and 30th Street)
6:40 AM

Depart Trenton (for Philadelphia Stations)
7:00 PM

RiverLINE trains that depart Camden in the AM and Trenton in the PM within the above time periods are also affected. Saturday evening trains run until midnight but on Sundays the last bike accessible train to meet the RiverLINE to Camden departs NY Penn Station at 4:54 PM.

But that's not all! Did you know that NJ TRANSIT also has blackout dates?  There are no bikes allowed on the following dates in 2012:

7/3, 7/4, 9/2, 9/3, 9/16, 9/25, 11/21, 11/22, 11/23, 12/23, 12/24, 11/31

It's nice (we guess) when NJ Transit makes SEPTA look good. Philadelphia to Atlantic City trains have no bike access time restrictions or blackout dates. Folding bikes continue to allowed on all trains without restrictions.

All this talk of train times makes us feel like we're in this Monty Python sketch.