West Side Avenue Light Rail Service to be Suspended Until 2020

jersey city light rail west side expansion
West Side Avenue Station

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) commuters are used to hearing “This is the train to West Side Avenue” over the loudspeaker, but those announcements will likely disappear for nine months starting later this year. If you travel on the HBLR from the West Side Avenue, Martin Luther King Drive, or Garfield Avenue stations in Jersey City, get ready for major changes to your commuting plans.

New Jersey Transit (NJT) revealed yesterday that these three stops on the West Side Avenue branch of the HBLR are slated to go without light rail service between June 1 of this year and March 1, 2020. A legal notice from the Newark-based agency states that the reason for the proposed shutdown is because of what lies under the train tracks: a sewer force main.

The Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority needs to conduct emergency repairs to this underground pipe, according to the notice, requiring light rail service to be suspended in the meantime in the affected area.

In lieu of light rail vehicles, NJT says that it is planning to provide a replacement bus service for customers. Shuttles would run from the West Side Avenue, Martin Luther King Drive, and Garfield Avenue stations directly to the Liberty State Park station in Bergen-Lafayette, where light rail service will continue to be available. There would also be buses between each of the three stations, the notice states.

Public hearings have been scheduled on Thursday, March 7 at the Gilligan Student Union Building on the campus of New Jersey City University. NJT representatives will reportedly be available to listen to customer feedback regarding the proposed service changes from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Input can also be sent via mail, email, and to this link in advance of the hearings.

Light rail service on the West Side Avenue branch began nearly 20 years ago and plenty of residential developments have been proposed as of late near the branch’s three stops in Jersey City. Trains that begin at West Side Avenue terminate at the Tonnelle Avenue station in North Bergen, passing through Downtown Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, and Union City along the way. There are also long-term plans to extend HBLR service west of the West Side Avenue station to the proposed Bayfront project site across Route 440.


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  1. LOL at ” NJT says that it is planning to provide a replacement bus service for customers”…I’d rather walk than take the crappy, unreliable JC buses.

  2. Took me about 55 mins (including wait time) from Westside ave station to exchange place today. Had to wait for 10 mins at Westside station for the replacement bus service and 12 mins at Liberty State Park light rail station. It used to take me 16 mins on light rail earlier.

  3. It’s really inconvenient for us now that the train is not in service, but the people from the bus service is good they r very helpful thanks to every one it takes a little time but we get to where we have to go

  4. The bus company that they are using is horrible
    Drivers are rude always late buses are always dirty and unsafe .
    Unsafe !
    Theses bus should be taken off the road

  5. This is a huge inconvenience to the travelling public, the buses are never on time and it’s even worse on weekends. My usual 15-20 min commute to/from exchange place is a nightmare now, taking a minimum of 35 minutes. The schedule system that they are using at Liberty State Park is not acceptable. Each time a train stops at Liberty State Park, a bus should load and go. This system is proven to work by the MTA/ NYCT when they have planned service outages in the subway. At the 3 affected stations there should be scheduled departures that get you to Liberty State Park in time to connect with a train. The current plan is not working, It may look so on paper but the commuter is the one feeling the pain of this process. The scope of works says 9 months – with completion of the project scheduled for March 2020. Let’s see how that goes. The bus drivers are saying that the bus contract is for a minimum of 1 year.

  6. My commute went from 15 mins on a good day to at least 45
    mins on a good day, all in one city. It’s horrible. Funny how there are no reports on the progress of the construction.

  7. I agree, the lack of transparency and update is appalling. I contacted the city and they referred me to a website that didn’t have any update on current status.


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