Speaking at a Newark Regional Business Partnership event on Monday, New Jersey Transit President Kevin Corbett said his agency is being treated like a pinata as paying customers vent their anger about unplanned cancellations of trains.
“We have a long way to go,” Corbett said. “We are not satisfied with where we need to be. Our numbers are like the stock market. They go up and down.”
Corbett was a keynote speaker in Newark for NRBP’s “Transportation Symposium: Investing in Our Future.”
“If we are not doing something right, we will take our shots and try to improve it,” Corbett said. “In Transit, you do not spike the football. We like baseball. You are as good as your last at-bat. One day you hit a home run and in your next at-bat, you strike out.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy appointed Corbett in early 2018. Transit customers are coping with cancelled trains due to Transit not employing enough engineers to operate its trains. Corbett has increased the number and frequency of training classes of engineers.
“We will graduate seven classes of train engineers,” Corbett said. “Transit has hired more than 2,000 non-union and union employees since January 2018.
With normal retirements, your net gain is 1,600 employees.”
But, the average commuter does not care why their train has been delayed by NJ Transit, Amtrak or PATH.
“We have committed over a billion dollars on capital projects,” Corbett said.
“Technology is more about customers and it is important,” Corbett said.
Also delivering remarks at the event, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Senior Program Manager Richard Schnurr gave an update about the replacement of Terminal One Redevelopment Program at Newark Liberty International Airport.
“We are doing $500 million worth of work per year this year and next year,” Schnurr said. “This is the largest design-build project in the state of New Jersey. This is a driver of the economy.”