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Newark Airport AirTrain to Close May-July: Schedule Even More Time When Taking Public Transit

by on April 16, 2014 · 21 comments

in Points Guy Pointers

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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.

EWR AND NEC TERMINAL

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!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Justin

    Got that email yesterday. Suckage. PHL time.

  • kp

    Uber isn’t going to help the fact that the Pulaski Skyway is also closed (for two years!) as of last week. I live in lower Manhattan and will do everything to avoid flying United for a very long time now. What a nightmare

  • Daniel

    Why did they decide to do this over the summer? Don’t they usually do this kind of work (like JFK’s runway) during low periods for travel?

  • TT

    I’m landing at EWR via United Terminal C and need to get to Manhattan via NJ Transit. Any ideas on how many stops with new shuttle service? Any idea on how much it would cost via Uber SUV?

  • zbird

    Wow, I didn’t realize EWR was so bad. I guess everything is relative, and nothing is worse than LGA.

  • http://www.LiveSmartNotHard.com/ Steve Bierfeldt

    The horror… The horror…

  • Chris

    Uber SUV is $125 flat.

  • Ed

    NYC airports are the worst run in the universe. People should avoid JFK, LGA and EWR like the plague.

  • Ed

    Because they are Incompetent PANYNJ bureaucrats.

  • Miami Flyer

    Your best bet for a full public transit route without Air Train is to take the train (NJTransit or PATH) to Newark Penn Station and take the #62 bus which stops at each terminal. It’s a quick 20 minute trip on the bus and it’s like a $1.75 or so. Another option is to take a cab from/to Newark Penn. I don’t remember the exact fare last time but it was around $15. These are quick trips because they use local roads through Newark.

  • Diotallevi

    That for the heads up. I live in Rahway and take NJ transit to EWR all the time. I will be looking for alternate routes now that airtrain is down. Maybe I’ll just cab it straight from Rahway to EWR.

  • Diotallevi

    I take the Northeast Corridor line to EWR and fly United all the time and have almost zero complaints, about EWR that is. United, well that’s a different story. Airtrain being down is going to suck though. Maybe I’ll be cabbing it to the airport for a few months. Thanks for the heads up TPG.

  • Joseph Alberts

    have most of the commenters here lost their minds? scouting out new routes, routing through philly instead?? there is still public transit available from the NJ Transit stop to the terminals. so it may take 15 extra minutes, jeez. i live in PA and fly from EWR often and it’s not THAT bad. lets not be overly dramatic.

  • EWR flyer

    There is also the airport express bus that stops at Port Authority , Bryant Park and GC and costs less than a taxi. Convenient option from midtown and better than the Penn Station NJ transit Airtrain slog

  • brian kusler

    Uber and Taxis are likely not a surefire workaround for the AirTrain due to the 2 year closure of the Pulaski Skyway. Check Google traffic!

    My personal “trick” is to take a cab from EWR to Newark Penn (flat $20, includes tip) and then jump on the PATH train from there. But even this can be thwarted by a long cab line or by the PATH’s weekend maintenance closures.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/nyregion/pulaski-skyway-shutdown.html?_r=0

  • Joe

    The AirTrain is really a pain in the butt. The weak link for taking public transit to EWR on a good day. It’s so small compared to other airport train lines (e.g., Denver, Atlanta).

    I’ve used the buses several times when the train is down, and it’s not the worst thing in the world. You just have to schedule some additional time. I personally drive to EWR more often and use The Parking Spot because my company provides a discount and the shuttles there are usually very quick.

  • Joseph Alberts

    can’t do all types of construction and maintenance when it’s cold (like below 40F for asphalt).

  • intelekshual

    Only the northbound lanes are closed. Coming from NYC, you’ll still be able to take the Pulaski–and even if you weren’t, there’s still the Turnpike extension, which only adds 2-3 minutes to a trip to EWR. The Pulaski closing is only a nightmare on your way back to the city.

  • Sean Hall

    I know it sounds crazy but I always get treated nicely at JFK or LaGuardia. Almost to the point that you think they are playing around. Last time, the customs agent gave me a hardy “welcome back sir” and many others were polite. However, yes, the airports are garbage (especially JFK). Unfortunately most mega cities built a small airport many many decades ago, outgrew it and then had to find some space to make other little crappy outdated airports. Be nice if they could close down all 3 and build a mega airport in Long Island or something. I mean its not like its NYC or the US or anything.

  • Blee

    I found out the hard way last night, took NJ Transit from New York to EWR. They tell you to get off at Newark Penn Station and take the shuttle bus out front. The bus from Newark Penn Station take much longer than the AirTrain because of road traffic and traffic at each terminal.

    The bus drivers don’t announce the terminals but they only stop at the terminals and NOT the parking lots so of you need a rental car you’ll have to get off and take another shuttle bus.

    The worst part is they still charge $12.50 for the EWR ticket.

    I would suggest people just avoid EWR altogether if possible.

  • Blee

    Would you rather they do it in the winter and you stand out in the cold to wait for a bus?

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