henry6 wrote:Don't confuse "RAPID TRANSIT" with "COMMUTER RAIL". The two are entirely different operating and equipment philosophies. But, if such close connections are needed, as in the cases cited above, and there are enough customers needing such connections at a given time, NJT Rail marketing needs to look into it. If it is only one or two people once a day, then there is probably no hope. If it is a dozen people at the same time everyday, then, it might mean something should be done. If it is hundreds of people day in and day out, then marketing has missed the train or bus or whatever it takes to make it work.
Agreed, although I do understand the difficulties of figuring out which connections would mean something to ridership. You could do a survey, but how many people know themselves what they really would or wouldn't do? How would you know you got a representative sample? You could try it and find out, but that's expensive and these things may take a while to catch on anyway, so a short sample period isn't necessarily all that accurate either.
All I know is that whether there's high demand or not, awful connections will mean little to no actual usage. Where the connections serve to utilize high demand versus where its pointless cause there was no real demand anyway, is a near impossible question to answer in advance.
One more thought: commuter rail, as currently thought of, really only functions well to service central locations - a big city or two - where people can then change to rapid transit, and do the reverse on the way home. That's fine, and its important, but it will never service the suburb-to-suburb commuter, unless you happen to be so lucky as to be going from one stop to another on the same line, with your destination within walking distance of the work stop.
Bus service suffers the same problem - inconvenient connections with only a small likelihood that one line will get you where you want to go. If you want to really service a suburb-to-suburb commuter, you need something more like rapid transit. Frequent service which therefore guarantees short connection times, and a variety of criss-crossed lines that you can transfer between. How the heck you do that over modestly long distances at a reasonable cost, I have no idea (light rail might be the closest, but generally travels too slowly).
And its not just NJT, look at any other commuter lines in the country - Boston, San Fran, Chicago - all are set up to service in and out commuters - to and from the city - not to move people perpendicularly.