Summer heat tends to be a major stressor for New Jersey Transit’s infrastructure, but despite facing one of the worst heat waves in recent memory, the carrier got through the season relatively unscathed. Commuters and other NJT-watchers will recall that last summer (2015) was punctuated by a particularly brutal week from July 20-24, where problems in Penn Station, in the tunnels under the Hudson, and beyond caused major rush-hour delays four out of the five days. While our riders were spared any meltdowns of that magnitude this year, there is still ample reason for concern going forward.

A couple of statistics concern the Coalition particularly. The first is mechanical reliability, as measured by Mean Distance Between Failure (on average, how many miles do trains run between breakdowns). While the latest numbers are a slight improvement over the last couple of years, as Bloomberg reporter Elise Young has highlighted, they are still far below the numbers from New York area neighbors Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road.

The second metric is customer satisfaction. While the latest ScoreCARD survey again showed a slight improvement over last year, Larry Higgs of NJ.com and the Star-Ledger reports that Morris & Essex Lines had the lowest overall satisfaction, with the Montclair-Boonton toward the back of the pack as well.