NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Embraces Idea to Help NJ Transit

"We are beyond frustrated at the agency and nothing seems to have changed."

NJ Transit delays are expected to impact commutes during summer months.
Legislators on Thursday took NJ Transit officials to task for not communicating with riders about daily and long-term problems. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Gov. Phil Murphy has thrown his support behind a proposal to remove a state residency requirement for NJ Transit workers.

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The governor called on the legislature to remove the requirement, which some legislators and officials at the embattled transit agency say would help them more quickly hire qualified workers.

Murphy’s move came a week after he held a press conference to address commuters’ growing frustation with numerous delays and equipment failures that have been occuring throughout the summer, according to a report in NJ.com.

Murphy made the announcement as NJ Transit officials faced legislators during a hearing on the summer’s transit troubles.

Murphy, who campaigned on a pledge to improve service at NJ Transit, has blamed the problems on former Gov. Chris Christie. But Republican legislators have pointed out that Christie left office seven months ago. Legislators on Thursday took NJ Transit officials to task for not communicating with riders about daily and long-term problems, such as those that have led the agency to shut down service on the Atlantic City line.

Transit officials have said that one of their biggest problems is a lack of trained personnel to run the trains. The agency has about 400 vacancies. There are currently 330 engineers, and the agency needs 291 to run complete service, according to the NJ.com report.

That leaves the railroad struggling to cover for vacations, illness or absences.

Quote of the Day: “We are beyond frustrated at the agency and nothing seems to have changed. We’ve had years of conducting research and reforms.” — Sen. Thomas Kean Jr., on NJ Transit’s ongoing problems.

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NJ Politics Digest: Murphy Embraces Idea to Help NJ Transit