New Jersey Transit will suspend all commuter train and bus services starting at noon on Saturday as the region braces for Hurricane Irene.
New Jersey Transit operates eight commuter rail lines, most of which go to and from Penn Station in Manhattan. Its three light-rail lines and its numerous buses will be suspended at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Trains and buses that depart before the shutdown begins will complete their runs.
Service will be suspended at least through the end of the day Sunday. A New Jersey Transit spokesman said officials hoped to have at least some trains and buses running by the Monday morning commute, but he emphasized that everything was touch and go depending on how much damage the hurricane does.
Irene is expected to reach New Jersey and New York as a Category 1 or Category 2 hurricane sometime Sunday morning, although the region may see some initial rain and wind Saturday evening. Anyone using public transportation to evacuate is urged to do so as soon as possible rather than waiting until tomorrow morning.
Cross-honoring will be in effect throughout the shutdown, meaning that if New Jersey Transit customers can find another means of public transportation, they can use New Jersey Transit tickets to ride it. It is very unlikely that any transportation company will be running over the weekend, but the cross-honoring policy may come in handy on Monday, when some services are back up and others are not.
The decision to suspend New Jersey Transit service came Friday afternoon, shortly after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that it would suspend all subway and bus service in New York City, as well as the commuter train lines it operates between the city and Long Island, Connecticut and the New York suburbs. The MTA shutdown also begins at noon on Saturday, and officials said service would definitely be affected to some degree at least through Monday.