CEO NJ Transit Addresses the Issues Impacting Commuters

Steve Adubato sits down with Kevin Corbett, President & CEO, NJ Transit, to talk about the issues facing NJ Transit, their impact on commuters, and the transportation plans for the American Dream complex.

12/7/2019 #327






"This is Kevin Corbett, President and CEO of New Jersey Transit. Good to see you. Thank you Steve. Let's do this. The job... how would you describe it? How many people commute everyday, by the way? We have about 950,000 on a weekday. Yeah. Trains? Buses? Trains and buses. About roughly two thirds bus, one third train. You don't need these... listen, you could watch NJTV News every night, and other great broadcasts around, even though none are that good. And find out what's going on on a regular basis. Top two issues you face at New Jersey Transit are? The top two issues... first... certainly personnel, qualified personnel operations for operation. You don't have enough engineers? That's right. How did that happen? It was... you know, people were saying, "Oh, did you lose them to other railroads?" And there was a little bit of that. But it mainly was, we stopped training engineers. So as they retired, we didn't... we weren't training the next generation of backups. Because? You know, I don't... Can we call that bad planning? [laughter] Absolutely. Seriously. Because you knew they were gonna retire? Yeah. There were people in the organization who knew. The head of our rail ops, those people, they knew. And they would request and request for training programs and training classes. It was rejected for budget reasons or other reasons. So the personnel is one. But when it comes to the late trains, delayed trains, right? Or the train doesn't come at all? How does that happen? Is that an infrastructure capital thing? A combination. The number one cause of canceled trains is engineers... lack of engineers. But then you get into... the next thing down is mechanical issues, either on the... particularly if we're talking about rail. I mean buses we move, you know... Sure. another issue, but people judge us a lot by the rail. And there it's a mechanical... either the signal system catenary problems, which in the Northeast Corridor is Amtrak actually, we run on... What's the deal with Amtrak? Amtrak, they've been... anybody who's in our field over a 20 year period, you have periods where you get some funding, and then you're starved. You get these cycles. So Amtrak went through a rough period. And rather than going at war with each other... in the last year, we really spent a lot of time focusing where can we pool our resources and work together? And we've made a very... a lot of progress with Amtrak last year. But they've got a long... they have a... you know, that's a 100 year old system they're operating. You know, it's interesting. You've talked with commuters... and by the way, I want to make sure in the future we have one of the commuter..."