No train service to Atlantic City? Impact hard to assess

David Madden
December 14, 2018 - 8:36 pm
NJ Transit

KYW Newsradio

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ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (KYW Newsradio) -- The Atlantic City rail line has been shut down for more than three months, as New Jersey Transit installs the hardware for Positive Train Control as mandated by the federal government. It should be back in January. But how has the shutdown affected things at the Jersey shore?

Hard to say.

The Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce hasn't looked into it, according to officials there.

Rummy Pandit, who runs the Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University, likewise hasn't studied the impact of NJT's move. But ridership had declined by about 10 percent over the last few years. Those who have stayed with the train, mostly commuting workers, have had to turn to their cars or alternative bus service since Labor Day.

"That impact would normally be in terms of timing, which probably means 'now I've got to get up earlier in the morning to get to work at a certain time because I don't have the option of taking the rail,'" Pandit told KYW Newsradio.

Want a clue as to impact? Consider the casino revenue numbers for November, up 24 percent compared to a year ago.

"This year, we're going to end on a positive note well ahead of last year again," he added. "So that's certainly a positive. But the way I would look at it is an addition of the rail line would certainly help."

Much of the revenue increase can be credited to the advent of sports betting although, to be candid, few gamblers take the train to the casinos these days.