Thursday, February 20, 2014

For commuters, no real change at NJ Transit

A bus broke down this morning in the Route 495 express lane to the Lincoln Tunnel, delaying commuters aboard hundreds of Manhattan-bound buses, above, including NJ Transit riders standing in the aisles. The Port Authority has ignored calls to add a second express bus lane into the city, and The Record's lazy editors and reporters have taken no notice.


Dozens of commuters who couldn't find a seat on an NJ Transit train between Secaucus and New York's Penn Station were probably cursing Jim Weinstein on Wednesday morning.

Weinstein announced he will be leaving his job as executive director of NJ Transit on March 2, The Record reported on Wednesday (A-1).

But Weinstein, who is another of Governor Christie's many cronies, failed in his job long before Superstorm Sandy, when hundreds of rail cars and locomotives were destroyed, and the Super Bowl, when thousands of fans waited hours for trains.

Ignoring commuters

For years -- in a story The Record has never bothered to tell -- NJ Transit has been unable to provide a rush-hour seat for every commuter or guarantee their on-time arrival.

Why The Record's editors and reporters immediately went to bat for Super Bowl fans after years of ignoring North Jersey commuters is a question only the Woodland Park newsroom can answer.

The assignment editors and reporters don't seem to think they have anything in common with their readers who commute by bus or train.

In fact, Editor Marty Gottlieb and his many underlings appear to have contempt for readers who use mass transit, judging by the lack of coverage in the paper, especially in the Road Warrior column.

Drivers engage in the daily ritual of crawling down Route 495 to the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel. This morning, a trip by car from Clifton to lower Manhattan took an agonizing 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Sky high salaries

Weinstein is being paid "upward of $261,000 a year," compared to Christie's $175,000, The Record reported.

He will be replaced at NJ Transit by Ronnie Hakim, another one of the governor's many cronies, who is in line for a $90,00o raise when she leaves the New Jersey Turnpike Authority -- by far the most expensive toll road in the tri-state area.

She now gets $174,000-a-year as executive director of the authority, which also runs the Garden State Parkway.

Early Alzheimer's

Meanwhile, Road Warrior John Cichowski finally emerges from hibernation to report on the challenges in the wake of last Thursday's nor'easter, which dropped 12 inches to 18 inches of snow on North Jersey (A-1 today).

The befuddled Cichowski doesn't have the courage to criticize state and municipal snow-removal crews for the half-assed job they did of clearing streets and highway ramps, and repairing potholes.

I also don't see any mention in his column today of pedestrians forced to put themselves in harm's way by walking in the street because of sidewalks and crosswalks still buried under snow.

The idiotic editors run a Page 1 photo today that tells readers nothing about the dangers of merging into high-speed traffic on highways when a mound of snow blocks the driver's vision or the acceleration lane suddenly disappears.

The mound of snow in the image blocks the view of the photographer (!!!), not the driver of the van shown merging onto Route 17 north in Upper Saddle River (A-1). 

Asylum's inmates

A news story and column on Page 1 today are about David Samson, the head of a powerful law firm who Christie named chairman of the patronage mill also known as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Check out the dated, unflattering column photo of Mike Kelly, whose shit-eating grin seems to undermine just about anything he has to say (A-1).

Burned-out Columnists Kelly and Cichowski appear to be just two of the patients in the newsroom's asylum.

A homeless man on the No. 2 train in Manhattan today had two hand trucks loaded with his belongings.


  1. I saw Mike Kelly on MSNBC earlier this week. He was talking about his recent Sunday column about the Bridgegate scandal.

    He definitely looks a lot older and somewhat more experienced than his grinning, outdated picture in his column for The Record.

    They should update his photo for the column. If they replaced his younger inexperienced grinning picture with a more subdued, older, wiser looking picture, maybe it would rub off on his writing.

  2. There is a far better photo of Mike Kelly on, and I don't see why they have been using the outdated, shit-eating grin version at the paper since, what, 2006 or 2007.

    This is typical of the inattention to detail under the incompetent production editor, Liz Houlton, who is paid six figures to supervise the inept news and copy editors.


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