M&E DIscounted Ticket
M&E Discounted Ticket

As NJ Transit and the other railroads using New York Penn Station implemented their altered schedules on Monday, July 10, media coverage was intense. Prepared to cover what many had forecast as "chaos," as the event rolled out TV crews and reporters scrambled instead to find anything at all to report. There were no crush loads on trains, only a few cancelled train runs (with no obvious relationship to the Penn Station work programs), and buttonholed commuters who had little to complain about other than somewhat longer travel times and unfamiliar surroundings. NJT's Morris & Essex riders, diverted to NJT's Hoboken terminal and generally unable to access New York Penn, were able to use their discounted tickets (photo) and transfer to various connecting carriers (story below) at no cost.

With the first morning commute out of the way, attention shifted to the evening ride home and the days to follow.  Some conjectured that the evening rush hour might be more intense, as many people leave their workplaces at about the same time. And perhaps many riders, wary of the predicted chaos, left home earlier than usual, or simply decided to work from home or take a day off. But as in the morning's commute, things went smoothly, although two M&E trains from Hoboken to Summit were cancelled, and passengers directed to following trains. Based on the first day's experience, NJT's plans seemed sound, although Mondays in the summer typically see a lighter-than-normal load as commuters extend their weekend.

Of course, the media was concentrated at the Manhattan and Hoboken terminals, and might not have been able to detect problems after riders passed through the terminals.  One rider on NJT #435, the 6:01 p.m. departure from  Hoboken to Gladstone, reported a last-minute track and platform change; a short, three-car train; no air conditioning in the first car; and delays enroute.  This may have been an isolated incident, or perhaps an indication that NJT still hasn't worked the bugs out of rerouting its fleet to Hoboken.

The discounted M&E tickets (photo) to Hoboken look just like a regular ticket, except for the price and the expiration date that appears -- September 1, 2017. The illustrated senior/disabled ticket costs $2.60; the regular price is $5.15.  (A full-fare ticket now sells for $6.00; the normal price is $11.75). The discount is only available on tickets between M&E points (Newark Broad St. through Hackettstown on the Morristown Line, and the Gladstone Branch) and Hoboken, and may be used to transfer to connecting services on bus and ferry lines and on PATH.