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Over the past couple of decades, Newark has become one of the main hubs on the east coast, for better and for much, much worse. It does have a few things going for it – it’s easy to get there from New York City in a taxi for about the same price as heading to JFK, and it’s easier, cheaper and faster to get there by catching a NJ Transit train from Penn Station. It has three separate terminals, so there’s not usually a huge crush at any one of them, and it tends to be easy to shuttle between them thanks to the airport’s AirTrain. At least, while it’s operating.
The Port Authority, which runs Newark Airport, announced that the airport’s monorail AirTrain, which connects the terminals to the airport’s train station with NJ Transit and Amtrak rail lines, will temporarily be shut down for 75 days starting May 1. They said that it is to repair degrading infrastructure along the 6.3 miles of track. During the shutdown, shuttle buses will transport travelers between terminals, parking and rental car areas, and from Newark Penn Station. Yeah, I think I’ll be taking Uber to Newark during this time!
All that is bad news as the summer travel season kicks into high gear. Given the speed at which the Port Authority tends to work, I suspect the AirTrain might be out of commission most of the summer. So if anyone has plans to travel to EWR or a layover there where you might have to change terminals, my advice would be to pad your itinerary with some extra time because it’s going to take you a lot longer to get from one terminal to another and to/from the train station into New York. Not only that, but the airport consistently ranks among the worst (we’re talking within the bottom 3 of the 29 largest US airports) in terms of on-time flight arrival and departure with just 60% on-time arrivals and 70% on-time departures according to the Department of Transportation.
That means even more of a time crunch than usual if you plan to travel through here, for instance if you scored one of the great business class deals Delta was offering earlier this week from various United hubs including Newark. So plan ahead, take your time, and good luck!