We know this will be a difficult summer for many of you who ride the Morris & Essex Line, especially if you ride “Midtown Direct” trains to New York Penn Station. You will need to get used to riding to and from Hoboken, as everybody did until 1996. If you normally ride to Hoboken, you and your fellow Hoboken “regulars” will be joined by thousands of temporary riders who normally go to New York.

So we have prepared this guide with some tips to make your summer travel as painless as possible.

The service changes will occur only on weekdays. Weekend service will NOT be affected. If you have a monthly or weekly ticket to Hoboken, it will be honored to New York on weekend trains. If you are an occasional rider with a single-trip ticket, you must pay the regular New York fare. Seniors and persons with disabilities will be entitled to ride for reduced fares, as always. The rest of the information in this document applies to weekday service only.

Four trains that arrive before 7:00 in the morning will still go to Penn Station, but no trains on the Morris & Essex Line will leave New York directly. All inbound trains arriving after 7:00 will go to Hoboken, and all outbound trains will leave from Hoboken.

If you are not familiar with Hoboken Terminal, you should know where to find the various transit services offered there. The terminal itself is a historic structure, built by the Lackawanna Railroad in 1907. It is a stubend terminal, so when trains come to a stop, you will be facing the terminal building. To the right as you exit the train are the higher-numbered tracks and the light-rail line that goes to Jersey City, Bayonne and other places in Hudson County. To the left are the lower-numbered tracks. If you walk toward the left on the concourse between the building and the tracks, you will find a stairway down to the PATH trains. We expect that an attendant will be positioned at the bottom of the stairs to let you into the PATH system when you show your ticket. The terminal building itself (known in railroad parlance as the “head house”) contains the historic waiting room, where you can wait until your train is ready for boarding. There are rest rooms located off the waiting room. Beyond the waiting room are the ferry slips. Be prepared to show the attendant your ticket as you board the ferry. If you are taking the #126 bus to Port Authority Bus Terminal, walk to the left from the train and turn left at the end of the concourse. You will pass some food stands on your right and come to an exit to the outside. Go through that exit and turn left. The bus terminal will be ahead of you.

PATH trains may be extremely crowded, especially during the busiest part of the morning peak commuting time, between 7:30 and 8:30. If you can use a ferry or a bus to get to New York during that time, you may wish to consider those alternatives. There will be more PATH trains at peak commuting times than under normal operation, but we are not sure that the proposed service will have enough capacity to accommodate the regular riders and the additional riders, too.

Be sure to allow plenty of time for your trip. You may not get onto the first PATH train from Hoboken. The bus from Hoboken to the Port Authority Bus Terminal (the #126) takes longer than PATH, and the ferries may take even longer. PATH is scheduled to take 14 minutes from Hoboken to 33d Street, and the #126 bus is scheduled to take 26 minutes to get to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. If the Lincoln Tunnel is crowded with buses, it could take longer. There will be a special ferry route between Hoboken and West 39th Street during peak commuting times, but that trip also requires a shuttle bus from the dock. Ferries are scheduled to take eight minutes to cross the river, but you will need a shuttle bus to reach your destination. Your total time will depend on where you need to go in Manhattan, and whether you need to use a bus, ferry-bus connection, or subway to reach your goal. If you take PATH, you will probably enter the platform at the back of the train. We suggest that you walk as far forward as you can before you board the train. The south exit of the 33rd Street station is closed for long-term renovations, so you will have to walk to the front of the train to exit the station. The same advice holds when you get on at 33d Street. You will show your ticket to an attendant and enter the station at the back of the train. The closer you get to the front, the closer you will be to the station in Hoboken when you get off.

Be careful about fares. Some Montclair trains can take you between Broad Street Station in Newark and Penn Station New York, but not during commuting hours. You will also need to pay a New York fare. Single-trip riders to or from New York on weekends will, also.

Hoboken fares are discounted approximately 50% during the service change, which includes monthly passes for July. These tickets will be honored on the early-morning trains into Penn Station and, monthly tickets will be valid to Penn Station for the first week of July. If you have a Hoboken ticket, you can ride into New York on the #126 bus from Hoboken, PATH or the ferries going to 39th Street or the World Financial Center. Returning to Hoboken, PATH will only honor Hoboken tickets for riders who board at 33d Street or the World Trade Center stations; not Newark Penn Station or intermediate stops on the “uptown” PATH line to 33d Street.

There will be extra buses during morning peak travel hours from Newark Penn Station, South Orange, Maplewood and Summit into New York. The #107 from South Orange and #108 from Newark Penn Station are operated by NJ Transit. Buses from Maplewood, Summit and Broad Street Station in Newark are contracted commercial buses that will run into New York between 7:00 and 9:00 in the morning, but there will be no “return” service. NJ Transit tickets will also be honored on DeCamp buses in the Montclair area, Lakeland buses in Morris County, and Community Coach in Morristown. NJ Transit also says that Hoboken tickets will be honored. Some towns have discussed chartering buses for their residents, but those buses would require a separate fare. We suggest that you check with your town to find out if they have one.

If you are expecting your ticket to be honored on a bus, ferry or PATH train, you may choose to purchase a “paper” ticket, which can be easily displayed to the bus driver or fare-checker. Commuters normally keep their tickets with them. If you are a single-trip riders, make sure that the conductor gives it back to you. You will need it for PATH, the #126 bus, or the ferry. We suggest that you purchase a round-trip ticket in advance, so you will have it to for the Manhattan link to Hoboken, whichever mode you choose to take. If you use PATH, there will be an attendant at the turnstile near the back of the train to inspect your ticket and let you in. We have not been informed that any other entrances will be covered that way, so we suggest that you go down the stairs from the concourse.

If you are riding during midday or in the evening, be sure to check the PATH connecting times, which are shown on the other side of the paper schedule from the weekday trains, to the right of the fare chart. PATH does not run very frequently, especially in the late evening, so you may have to leave Manhattan earlier than usual to catch your train at Hoboken. The worst case is the last train on the M&E Line, which previously left Penn Station at 12:56. It will leave Hoboken at 12:59, but you must leave the PATH 33rd Street station no later than 12:10; 49 minutes earlier. You can also take the last Montclair train, leaving at 12:34 and have a 22-minute wait at Newark for the M&E train. That alternative is slated to require a New York fare, however.

For more information from NJ Transit, go to www.njtransit-theupdate.com/morris-essex-line-rider-guide to find links to the PATH and NY Waterway ferry websites, along with information about extra bus service during the period. Schedules and operations are always subject to change, though.

There is also a place to click on the front page of the NJT web site, www.njtransit.com, for this information.

If you can take some extra vacation time or work from home more often this summer, that might be a good idea. The Morris & Essex Line has many more riders today than when everybody rode to Hoboken, before June 1996.

We will do the best we can to keep you informed of any changes, and to advise you about how to make the summer as painless as possible. We also urge you to join the Lackawanna Coalition and help us advocate for better transit in our region. We meet on the fourth Monday of every month (unless a holiday forces us to change the meeting date) at 7:00 at Millburn Town Hall. To learn more, check our website, www.lackawannacoalition.org. You do not need to be an expert on rail operations or on transit. We can help you to learn what you need to know. We are civic-minded volunteers who are familiar with our railroad and New Jersey Transit, and we have advocated for better rail transit on our lines since 1979. We hope you will come to a meeting and meet us, and we hope you will join us.

Good luck this summer, from the Lackawanna Coalition!