New Jersey Transit Seeks to Limit Homeless At Stations

 New Jersey Transit is assessing a pilot program that limits waiting room seating at some of its stations and keeps the homeless moving.

Under the program, which started this summer, ticketed passengers are allowed to sit in seating areas for up to two hours at stations in Atlantic City, Hoboken, Newark and Secaucus.

The Press of Atlantic City reports that NJ Transit spokeswoman Jennifer Nelson says the policy ensures ticketed customers have a place to sit while waiting for their travel.

But some homeless advocates have said the policy invites selective enforcement and pushes the homeless out on the streets.

Bill Southrey, president of Haven/Beat The Streets, an organization designed to help the poor, said that there are quite a few homeless people at the city's bus station at night, partly due to a lack of homeless shelters across the state.

"There should be an embracing plan. Let's find a place to put them," Southrey said.

Sean Warner, a homeless man who frequents the city's bus station, said transit police take the passenger's ticket and mark it, then come back and tell that person to leave when their time is up, regardless of it "it's raining or the bus is late."

"The majority of these people are homeless and got nowhere else to go," Warner said.

Nelson said NJ Transit reviewed the policies of other stations while determining the two-hour time limit. She said it has a full-time social worker on staff to help people in need of assistance.

Ann Thoresen, director of the Atlantic Homeless Alliance, said NJ Transit allows organizations into the Atlantic City station to do outreach to help the homeless.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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