Jersey City Commuting

Graphic by Diana Paredes.

Seventy minutes --that’s how much time Jersey City daily commuters spend traveling back and forth to work and school.

Jersey City has recently been named the third city with the longest commute in the United States, according to a study done by Haven Life. Nearly 20 percent of the population reports spending more than two hours commuting.

As the population grows more and more each year, traffic and travel in New Jersey is becoming worse.

Since the last census in 2010, the city has grown six percent in population, according to World Population Review.

40 percent of the Jersey City population commutes daily by car, while 50 percent uses public transportation.

Many Saint Peter’s students say that commuting in a car in the city is stressful and long.

But commuting on public transportation isn’t any better, students say.

Adrian Fernandez, a Saint Peter’s freshman, says public transportation takes a toll on his daily routine because he spends more than an hour commuting to school every day from West New York by bus.

“Public transportation makes everything worse. You have to plan ahead and hope everything is going to be on schedule,” said Fernandez.

The frequent delays at bus stops, light rails and train stations in the Jersey City area is not ideal for many commuters.

After looking at the average train delays at New York Penn Station-- a station that many commuters use to get to the city -- 83.6% of trains are on time.

When looking at morning trains, only 70 percent were on time, and in the evening 79.1 percent of the trains came on time.

Commuting by car is also time consuming, SPU students say.

Many students said that most delays are due to traffic, and other delays are because of accidents, construction or weather.

The amount of traffic a student deals with to make it to an 8 a.m. class on time could alter their entire schedule.

Ruby Hernandez, sophomore, wakes up at 6:30 every morning, and commutes about 30 minutes to an hour from Elizabeth to get to her 9:30 class.

“I have to wake up early so I won’t get stuck in traffic,” says Hernandez.

Hernandez says that if there were no traffic in the morning, she would not have to wake up until 8:15 a.m.

More students also expressed concern about ongoing traffic in the morning that cause delay.

“If I wake up too late, I’m going to get stuck in the morning traffic rush with all the buses,” said Ben Regis, a sophomore.

Another student, Kagan Shaw, who uses Route 7 -- a two-way road with just one lane going in each direction -- says that this is the only road available to use when traveling into the Jersey City area from Belleville, a nearby town.

He also claims that this is the only form of transportation from Kearny into the city, as well.

Yet, there are alternative routes available.

“Even though the New Jersey roads are very efficient, it's just overcrowded. It's too congested, and there are too many cars on the road,” said Shaw.

Students are also concerned with the amount of accidents that occur on the tight roads.

“I believe that a big contributor to my commute length is the amount of accidents that happen on my daily route,” said Regis.

The most recent study on accidents in New Jersey says that over 20,000 accidents occur in Hudson County within a year, which narrows down to about 50 accidents daily.

This puts drivers at risk during their daily commute and pushes traffic back farther.

But while some people dread their commute in the morning because of traffic and accidents blocking the road from movement, others use the time to their benefit.

Judy Wilson, a fiction professor on campus, uses time in traffic to catch up with friends and family.

“My commute actually isn't a bad experience. I usually play Christian music, pray, or use the time to call friends and family … so it's productive time,” said Wilson.

An economics professor at the university, Devin Rafferty, also enjoys his 70-minute commute by ferry and bike each morning.

“My commute enhances my everyday life. It's very relaxing,” said Rafferty.

As Jersey City continues to grow as a community, its commuters hope for change to better the road conditions, and lessen the time of their daily trips.

“A big improvement would be better roads and maybe a retouch on the Jersey City traffic routes to accommodate them to the amount of people pouring in,” said Regis.

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