NJTransit Announces Travel Advisories for Papal Visit

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Local commuters traveling to New York City this Thursday and Friday should be prepared for increased crowding and longer waits and should check NJ Transit for schedule changes related to the visit of Pope Francis I. NJT issued this advisory on its website last week:

NJ TRANSIT has plans in place to help manage travel for North Jersey customers during Pope Francis’ visit to the area on Thursday, September 24 and Friday, September 25.

Event-goers are advised to plan their trip ahead of time, plan to travel off-peak when possible and purchase round-trip tickets in advance. Large crowds are expected along with enhanced security measures and expected delays during this time period. When returning to New Jersey in the evening on September 25, customers should be prepared for longer wait times especially immediately following the Papal Mass at Madison Square Garden.

“With crowds moving into, out of, and around New York City on Thursday and Friday of the Papal visit week, NJ TRANSIT’s regular customers should know that this will be very far from their normal commute,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim. “We are asking our customers to be patient – and to be prepared – as we expect our rail and bus service to be at or near capacity during the peak periods so wait times may be lengthy. Our goal is to have visitors utilize off-peak trains and move as many people as possible in a safe and efficient manner.”

NJ TRANSIT will operate additional rail service during the off-peak into Penn Station New York and enhance its bus service into Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) throughout the day.  Normal football Game Day rail service will run on Thursday and Sunday for the Giants and Jets games, respectively.

Signage and posters will be available at all major rail stations and bus terminals to inform NJ TRANSIT customers of travel options. Also, NJ TRANSIT Ambassadors, who are knowledgeable about travel information during this special Papal event, will be on hand to assist customers.

Special queuing in Penn Station New York will also be in place to handle anticipated crowds.  The new busing operations in place at the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) should help vehicles, and customers, travel to and from the terminal more quickly.  In addition, the majority of buses do not travel on New York City streets and traverse from the Lincoln tunnel directly onto PABT ramps, avoiding any traffic diversion which may be implemented due to the Pope’s motorcade, unless it impacts the Lincoln Tunnel.

NJ TRANSIT is also working closely with area transportation partners to provide alternate transit options throughout the visit.  For example, customers can transfer to PATH service at Newark Penn Station or at Hoboken where they can also travel via NY Waterway. NY Waterway will operate their regular service for Thursday and Friday but will have boats on standby if needed.  They also are modifying their bus schedule to coincide with the Papal parade.

“Our staff continues to work hand in hand with NJ TRANSIT to ensure that those attending papal activities in Manhattan have a convenient and safe way to get there,” said Michael Marino, the Port Authority’s Director of Rail Transit and General Manager of PATH.

NY Waterway also has additional commuter ferry capacity from a number of locations to accommodate New Jersey residents coming to New York City during the Papal visit.

Ferry service is available to West 39th Street in Manhattan from Port Imperial in Weehawken, 14th Street in Hoboken and Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken.  These routes operate all day, with departures every 10 to 30 minutes.

Morning and evening rush hour service is available from Edgewater in Bergen County to West 39th Street, a 13-minute crossing every 30 minutes.  Morning and evening rush hour service is available from Belford/Middletown in Monmouth County to Lower Manhattan in 40 minutes and to West 39th Street in 65 minutes with departures every 30 minutes.

There also is service from Hoboken Rail/Ferry Terminal and Jersey City’s Paulus Hook, Liberty Harbor and Port Liberte to the World Financial Center and to Pier 11 at Wall Street.

“NY Waterway is always ready with the boats and the experienced crews to work with NJ TRANSIT to move New Jersey residents across the Hudson River quickly and reliably.  We are confident that we can handle the increased ridership during this wonderful event, the visit of Pope Francis to our region,” said NY Waterway President and Founder Arthur E. Imperatore.

Amtrak will provide direct rail service to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia with some trains making stops in New Jersey including Newark, Metropark, Princeton Junction, Hamilton and Trenton.  For more information on Amtrak service, please go to https://www.amtrak.com/papalvisit.

NJ TRANSIT has created a special Papal webpage will more detailed information for visitors. Please visit www.njtransit.com/papal for any updated NJ TRANSIT Papal travel news. 


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