NJ Transit: Dinky train replacement shuttle not free

The free ride is over for commuters who have been taking substitute buses between Princeton and Princeton Junction for the last few weeks during New Jersey Transit’s three-month shut down of Dinky train service.

For the first few weeks that buses replaced the Dinky train, bus drivers were not collecting tickets or asking to see passes. Commuters said that today, bus drivers informed passengers that they must buy train tickets or show their rail passes for the bus service.  Bus drivers has 8×10 photocopied fliers they showed passengers today informing them of the change in policy.

The train trip is $3 each way. Commuters are questioning why they should pay train ticket prices for inferior service on a bus. A New Jersey Transit bus ticket for a one-way trip from Princeton to downtown Trenton is only $2.75.

“To suspend a service for a line, that does not require the installation of positive train control, and substitute bus service is alone unconscionable,” said Len Resto of the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers. “To now ask riders to pay rail fares for inferior and less dependable bus service is putting salt in a wound.  The least NJT can do is charge 50% of what the bus fare would be and round it down to $1.35.”

The substitute bus service will be in place until at least the middle of January.