Snow Causes Commuter Chaos at Port Authority, Penn Station and on New Jersey Roadways

Train service in New Jersey and on Long Island was also delayed as the wintry weather froze switches on the rails.

New Jersey Transit warned that train delays could last for as long as an hour and suggested taking ferries or the PATH train to get across the Hudson River. By 8 p.m. N.J. Transit told commuters at Port Authority that delays for buses could be as long as three hours.

“Listen, we’re getting clobbered,” New Jersey Gov. Philip D. Murphy told News 12 New Jersey. “No forecast — none — predicted this. This is slower, it’s deeper, it’s colder.”

Mr. Murphy said his own commute, which would normally take 45 minutes, had taken closer to three hours.

“The plows are out, I’m on the Turnpike and it is relatively clear,” he told the television station. “But admittedly, it depends on what road you’re on.”

The waiting areas in Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan also became dangerously crowded, commuters reported.

Representative Adriano Espaillat, a New York Democrat, expressed his frustration on Twitter and demanded answers from public officials about how such a meager snowstorm was able to undermine the city’s transportation systems.

“Moms are stranded with their kids, people are running out of gas,” he wrote. “This is unacceptable.”

Max Rose, a Democratic Representative-elect for New York, tweeted that there was “no excuse” for this kind of response to an expected snowfall. “I may not be sworn in, but I will be demanding answers,” he wrote.

The storm had not caused widespread power failures. At 8 p.m., PSEG reported 260 failures on Long Island that affected about 5,600 customers. In New Jersey, PSEG reported that about 1,600 customers had lost power.

On social media, many travelers complained about being unable to leave Newark Liberty International Airport because of infuriatingly slow transportation.

Ron Marsico, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said ground transportation to and from the airport had been “severely curtailed” by traffic stemming from icy roads. He said that AirTrain Newark was up and running, but its service was less frequent because of icy tracks and that N.J. Transit trains that connect to AirTrain were significantly delayed.

Other travelers reported that they could not even get off the planes. One said he was stuck on a plane at Newark Airport after being diverted en route to La Guardia. He said the tarmac was crowded with a sea of planes.

In Newark, officials closed off several highways late Thursday night because of icy roads and collisions. Routes 280, 78, 21 and 22 were closed for the night, according to a news release from the Newark Police Department.

Schools throughout the metropolitan area had trouble getting students home on the clogged, slippery roads. In West Orange, N.J., the school district had to order buses to “shelter in place to address the road conditions.”

At 6 p.m., school officials tweeted out a picture of an auditorium filled with middle-schoolers, adding that “snacks are being provided, as well as activities and entertainment.”

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