Your New Jersey correspondent has been carefully reviewing the news, to keep you, the reader, updated about new developments in rail and transit. And, he wondered: “What story would be interesting to the readers this week?”
An app developed by TxDOT that helps drivers monitor maintenance on their cars? Too pro-driving!
A cab sharing app that helps G train riders? Too far east of the Hudson!
And then your correspondent saw this story. According to an AP report on News 12 New Jersey, a “computer issue” resulted in a power failure that caused a roller coaster to stop on its tracks (a roller coaster just got stuck in Maryland the other day, too!). The riders had to “walk down along the tracks.” The riders all made it down in 23 minutes and the ride was operating again in less than an hour. Let’s compare those facts to typical rail and transit news:
A computer issue caused the ride to stop. Trains stop for many reasons. MBTA trains stopped in July due to a power failure. Up in Ottawa, signal problems have caused delays. We’re sure that computers can stop trains too – so there you go: a similarity between the roller coaster and the rail and transit network (besides the fact that they both run on tracks).
They walked off down tracks and all were down in 23 minutes. Unfortunately, when trains are disabled, passengers can wait for much, much longer than 23 minutes. Just last month a NJ Transit train was delayed for about an hour crossing the Hudson. Back in 2010, a NYC subway train was delayed for 7 hours in a snowstorm. And, back in March, an Amtrak train was stuck for over four hours, the same amount of time another train was delayed under the Hudson in January. And a four hour delay is ten hours shorter than a NYC to Miami train was delayed back in 2013. Twenty three minutes is much shorter than fourteen hours!
The ride was operating again in less than an hour. Unfortunately, an hour is much shorter than it takes to resume service on some rail-and-transit systems. Metro-North’s Port Jervis Line reopened on November 28, 2011–about THREE MONTHS after Tropical Storm Irene washed out parts of it. And, Amtrak’s Sunset Limited is still not running between Louisiana and Florida, after Hurricane Katrina put it out of service. The roller coaster beat both of those lines by years!
In conclusion, rail and transit systems should be run by carnies.