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January 17, 2017

Equipment issues, delays and poor communication again frustrate PATCO riders

Transportation Delays
PATCO train Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

A PATCO train crosses the Benjamin Franklin Bridge from New Jersey headed to Pennsylvania.

Rail service connecting New Jersey to Philadelphia via PATCO suffered major meltdowns throughout the morning Tuesday.

The rail line was already on a special schedule when a cascade of equipment issues piled up. Broken down trains and canceled service resulted in commuters being herded off trains and left to mill about on jammed platforms.

RELATED: NJ Transit launches peak-hour bus service in Philadelphia

Gallingly, the Port Authority Transit Corporation repeatedly told its commuters through the morning that the delay was just 10 to 20 minutes, though many customers learned that was just not true. Some reported via social media it took them two hours to make the trip.

The lack of information and perhaps worse, bad information, fueled a tidal wave of comments on @PatcoWatchers twitter account and on its sister Facebook page.

The line experienced equipment issues and long delays last week, but nothing on Tuesday’s scale.

PATCO serves about 38,000 riders a day and is run by the Delaware River Port Authority. It crosses the Delaware River alongside the Ben Franklin Bridge.

A PATCO spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The rail line said online that it was back to normal at around 9:30 a.m.

An automated message from PATCO has said track work has been completed for Tuesday and runs in both directions should be on schedule.

However, a special schedule is also planned for Wednesday.

Refunds may be requested by delayed commuters. PATCO has posted that forms are available at stations.