Light Rail Closures

Disrupt Commutes and Schedules


Photo by Marco Rezk

Marco Rezk, Editor-in-Chief

The West Side light rail station is closed until March 2020, affecting hundreds of students, faculty and staff.


Earlier this year, a sewer leak was discovered underneath three light rail stations which required immediate repair. Repairs to the pipes underneath the rails began in June. Until repairs are finished, light rail services are suspended at West Side Avenue, Garfield Avenue, and Martin Luther King Drive.


The increase in transit time is an issue for many, especially for students who rely on the lightrail to get to and from both the main campus and the School of Business. The university has currently not provided any alternative way of getting to the business school from the main campus.


In place of light rail services at these stops, NJ Transit has provided shuttle buses, but this will increase commute times for the average person.


For students like Ayaa Elayyan, a sophomore majoring in Marketing and Management taking all of her Fall semester classes at the business school, both transportation and parking are major problems she faces in the upcoming school year.


“I was planning on parking by West Side and going [to the business school] by the light rail,” says Ayaa. “A lot of the business students do that.” The university does not have a parking lot near the School of Business for students and faculty, and parking around the area is limited. “There is…barely any parking by the business school, and if there is, it’s an hourly rate.”


The shuttle buses go up to Liberty State Park, where light rail service has continued to run as normal up to every other station. Official schedules of the shuttles from NJ Transit show that the buses start running from approximately 5 AM to 2 AM, with frequent departures from each station.


In March, NJ Transit noted a 15 minute increase in commute time with the use of shuttle buses for the average person. However, this seems to have been an inaccurate estimate.


The official schedule for the shuttle buses running from West Side Avenue to Liberty State Park and back show at least a 20 minute increase in commute time, and for local buses, which pass through all affected light rail stations, show up to 30 minute travel times. The times do not factor in traffic, which tends to skew the increased commute times even higher above official recorded estimates.


The shuttle buses are also consistently subject to delays. A search through the history of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail’s official Twitter account shows at least seven times since June 15th where shuttle bus service from West Side Avenue to Liberty State Park and vice versa was delayed, out of service, or rerouted due to mechanical failures, weather conditions, construction in other parts of Jersey City, or police activity.


Last semester, the Student Government Association did a giveaway of Uber and gas cards to students on a first come first serve basis, in order to alleviate the concerns of students who go to the School of Business. While details are limited on whether or not this event will run again in the Fall and Spring semesters, Ebony Drew, SGA’s Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing, said, “We’re working on it.”


As of writing, NJCU’s Parking and Transportation Services department could not be reached for comment on possible plans for a university shuttle to or a parking lot near the School of Business.