Now she is forced to take the town shuttle to the Secaucus Transfer rail station in South Secaucus.
"It takes me 35 minutes just to get out of Secaucus," she told the Town Council last week. She was one of about a dozen Secaucus residents who complained that the bus schedule and changing train times have caused them to get up hours early or go into work late every day.
"I have to get up at 5:30 [a.m.] to get to work on time," Morrin said. She said she didn't even know Harmon Cove station was going to close until she saw a notice posted at the station one day.
While New Jersey Transit supplies shuttle service from Harmon Cove to the newly opened Secaucus Transfer Station from 5 a.m. to midnight during the week, Secaucus provides additional bus service from the north end and the center of Secaucus to the Transfer Station three times in the morning and three times at night. The town's shuttle service is designed to provide service to areas where are no buses available to the train station.
If you miss the shuttle or need to meet a certain train, you cannot simply have someone drive you to the train station. There are no drop-off facilities at the Transfer Station and no park-and-ride facilities in Secaucus.
"When we called NJ Transit to find out what we could do, the person there told us we could take the 190 bus to Manhattan or drive to the train station in Lyndhurst," Theresa Volpi said. "But I don't see a point of driving away from Manhattan to get a train to get to Manhattan, which would mean we would have to deal with traffic on Route 3 and it would cost us more." And the 190 bus goes to midtown Manhattan, not downtown.
Residents can drive to a special resident-only park-and-ride on Meadowlands Parkway, an arrangement the town made with Hartz Mountain industries for use of the property, but only the town shuttle drives into the lot.
Harmon Cove buses will stop for passengers there, provided they cross the highway to wait - an additional and perhaps dangerous situation, especially at night
"In the morning it isn't a problem," said Volpi. "There are people going to the offices down there. But at night, there is no one around in the parking lot. It's just not comfortable."
Moved for the commute
Volpi and her husband, Anthony, moved to Secaucus because of the easy commute into Manhattan.
"What amazes me is that you have this new train station designed to service the region, but people in Secaucus who live a half a mile from the station can't get there," said Anthony Volpi.
Edward Tomassi said he appreciates the fact that town residents don't have to pay for the service, but the limited schedule means that residents either have to get up hours early to reach work, or arrive late to work.
He said before the Harmon Cove station closed, he and others could reach Manhattan before nine - since a train came at 7:53 a.m. After the closing, the same train arrived at the Transfer Station as 8:21 a.m., getting people to work just after nine. NJ Transit then changed this train to 8:24 a.m., and again to 8:27, leaving people to get to work later and later.
Elwell said NJ Transit has made it clear from the beginning that there would be a period adjustment as schedules changed, but residents said the changes are to the detriment, and wished to get some relief from the council in this regard. They either wanted the council to change the town bus schedule or ask NJ Transit to change its schedule.
While the town has two buses, a gift from NJ Transit, repairs often keep one of them disabled for weeks at a time.
Because of an agreement with Hartz, NJ Transit supplies four buses to Harmon Cove - something that will be cut back once full train service starts on Dec. 5, at which point regular service of the NJ Transit No. 2 and Academy buses are expected to pick up the slack.
Elwell said he will seek to set up a meeting with NJ Transit and the residents to talk about the problems with scheduling.