About 105,000 people rely on NJ TRANSIT every day and railroad officials are already warning that if the strike happens, their contingency plan will only be able to accommodate around 40,000 commuters.
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Commuters are hoping today’s in-person negotiations could be the difference that will ensure their trains will keep running.
“We will not be able to provide the level of service or capacity that our rail service currently provides to our customers,” NJ TRANSIT Interim Exec. Director Dennis Martin said.
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Officials plan to increase bus service, PATH trains light rail and ferry service, and to rely heavily on park and rides. Still, car traffic getting into Manhattan could be disastrous.
“It’s gonna be very disruptive a lot of people are gonna be stranded,” a commuter said.
Some New Jersey towns have come up with their own contingency plans, intending to have Jitney vans shuttle residents to Newark so they can take PATH trains to the city.
“We don’t have enough Jitney capacity to handle our own residents so we’re going to limited to that and proof of residency will be required,” said one town administrator.
The strike deadline is midnight Saturday, March 12. If the strike happens, NJ TRANSIT plans to gradually scale down service starting on Sunday.
Union leaders said the major issues that divide the two sides — wage increases, workers’ health care payments and contract length — are still on the table. Both sides said progress was made Tuesday.
In regard to healthcare, union workers are protesting NJ TRANSIT’s demands for workers to put up 20 percent of their healthcare costs.
Martin questioned how the raise would be paid for at a board meeting on Wednesday, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
“The structure of the settlement and the amount of the settlement will determine how we have to fund it,” Martin said.
When asked about raising fares to cover the costs, Martin said he “can not rule out” the possibility.
The unions have been operating without a new contract or raise since 2011.
Union Built PC and many of our team members are based in NY Metro. We have seen commuter-impacted strikes before and it is no laughing matter. We want to encourage you to plan ahead. If you’re a commuter who may be impacted by the strike click here for resources to navigate the NJ Transit strike.