A measure sponsored by Assemblymen Thomas P. Giblin and John S. Wisniewski, aimed at easing commuter bus congestion and delays, was granted approval by the General Assembly on Monday by a vote of 65-9-4.
“The present Port Authority bus system is far too taxing on commuters, our roadways and our environment,” said Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic). “The Port Authority terminal has no room to house the countless buses that bring New Jersey commuters into Manhattan everyday, so these buses have to travel back to New Jersey after the morning rush and wait in parking lots until it’s time to head back for the afternoon commute. Consequently, about one in 10 New Jersey Transit buses leave the terminal at least six minutes late between 3:30 and 7:00 p.m. It’s time the Port Authority acted to eliminate the congestion and delays that this creates.”
The resolution (AR-155) calls on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to immediately develop and implement a plan to eliminate or reduce bus congestion and the resulting delays occurring each day at the Port Authority’s bus terminal.
The sponsors noted that there is no capacity to add additional buses during rush hour, as each of the terminal’s 183 gates is in use at that time. Meanwhile, a plan to build a tower above the Port Authority bus terminal, add additional gates and improve bus terminal operations has been in limbo for over a decade.
“Each day, roughly 6,000 buses travel underneath the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey, with an unnecessary amount of them being empty. Think about the congestion this creates,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “This Governor has turned his back on commuters, first by cancelling the ARC tunnel project and now by letting the Port Authority sit on their hands when it comes to addressing the busing situation. From every angle, this is an issue that is long overdue to be tackled.”
The lawmakers also stressed that these buses account for 225,000 passenger trips each day, the vast majority of which are taken by New Jersey residents commuting to jobs in Manhattan. By comparison, New Jersey Transit trains carry 165,000 people to and from New York’s Penn Station each day.