Mayors ask NJ Transit to improve service
NEWARK — Mayors from communities along two NJ Transit lines have a message for management: get it together.
As the last-minute cancellation of trains continues during the morning and afternoon commutes across the entire rail system, mayors from along the Morris & Essex Line and the Raritan Valley Line struck a positive but firm tone in their letters in looking for service improvements.
Sixteen mayors along the Morris & Essex issued a joint statement urging NJ Transit to take "immediate action to improve the experience of tens of thousands of NJ Transit customers, and our constituents" to improve what they describe as a "state of emergency which requires swift and fundamental, not incremental, change at NJ Transit."
Eight trains were canceled during Monday afternoon's commute, mostly because of "engineer availability" (or lack thereof) or continuing work on Positive Train Control (PTC) installation.
The letter urges improvement in reporting accurate cancellations via its Departure Vision, adding buses to take commuters to the ferries, more cross-honoring and better communication with local officials.
The letter was signed by the mayors of South Orange, Hoboken, Morristown, Summit, Long Hill, Madison, Orange, Chatham, Berkeley Heights, Netcong, Bernards Township, New Providence, Millburn, Hackettstown, Denville, West Orange, and Dover
Mayors from Fanwood, Westfield, and Bound Brook along the Raritan Valley issued a similar message of their own to the agency.
"The 23,000 daily commuters in our municipalities have been given a set of sub-standard choices for their daily transit needs in and out of Manhattan, and while we recognize this problem has been a long time in the making, we have assembled our collective efforts to do our part in moving toward a solution-oriented environment that effects change," read their letter.
They also addressed their unique issue of one-seat service into New York, which is being suspended during off-peak travel to allow for PTC installation. Once that service is restored in early 2019, the mayors hope that in light of the Lincoln Tunnel viaduct project and continued rider growth, NJ Transit would consider increasing the service.
"Peak one-seat rides would allow Raritan Valley Line towns to compete equally for residential and commercial investment, enhance current economic redevelopment efforts in progress along the entire corridor, enable employers to compete for younger, skilled talent from Manhattan, and ultimately increase property values in all Raritan Valley Line municipalities," read the letter.
More from New Jersey 101.5: