NEWARK, NJ -- Bruce Bergen, Chairman of the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, addressed the NJ Transit Board at their public meeting on Monday, Feb. 25, and questioned why one-seat ride trains had not yet been reinstated on the rail line. Bergen, a former Union County Freeholder, also urged the NJT Board members to provide a date when restoration of service would occur.
Earlier this week, NJ.com reporterd that NJ TRANSIT officials announced that commuters who use direct off-peak Raritan Valley Line service to and from New York have been given a vague "second quarter 2019 time period" for resumption of one-seat service into Manhattan.
What is a “one seat” ride?
The Raritan Valley line is the only NJ TRANSIT line connected by tracks to Midtown Manhattan whose passengers must transfer to a connecting electric line at Newark thus making it a “two seat” ride into NYC. Four NJ TRANSIT rail lines have direct track connectivity and carry riders in “one seat” directly to NYC, hence the phrase “one seat” ride.
Along the Raritan Valley line, only diesel locomotives can operate because the miles of track are not electrified. Diesel trains are not allowed to operate in the tunnels into Manhattan. After the ARC Tunnel project was cancelled, NJ TRANSIT purchased approximately three dozen dual-powered locomotives. When the train comes to a rail line that operates on electricity, a dual-powered locomotive switches from diesel to electric power in 2 minutes or less. This allows dual-powered locomotives to operate on both electric and diesel lines.
The Raritan Valley Coalition started in 1998 to lobby for the one-seat ride and other rail transit issues on behalf of the , 1.7 million residents in Union, Somerset, Middlesex and Hunterdon Counties. The Raritan Valley line comprises about 10% of NJ TRANSIT's daily ridership system wide. However, the Raritan Valley line is the only line that does not have one-seat service into Manhattan anytime or any day of the week.
Based on ridership, the RVRC proposes direct service on all off-peak weekday trains, all weekend trains, and two AM and PM peak-hour weekday trains.
Elected officials have been pushing hard for the return of the one-seat ride on the Raritan Valley Line since NJ TRANSIT suspended the off-peak service last September. Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, who has spent more than a decade pushing for direct service into New York City via the Raritan Valley Line, Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle, and other mayors recently joined forces to form the Raritan Valley Mayors Alliance, which is dedicated to improving public transit options along the line.
The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition has started an online petition demanding the return of one-seat rides. Supporters can sign it by visiting https://raritanvalleyrail.com/take-action.
Sign our Petition to help restore our ‘One Seat Ride’
RARITAN VALLEY LINE COMMUTERS: A rush hour commute that doesn’t require changing trains in Newark is a powerful incentive to attract residents to towns served by the one-seat ride. It cuts down on the stress and amount of time of the daily trip to New York that is a way of life for tens of thousands of New Jerseyans, thus contributing to better productivity.
HOMEOWNERS: Studies show that property values increase with better train service. A report by the non-profit Tri-State Transportation Campaign predicts increases of property values of 7% in the first year of one-seat rides. Commuters and non-commuters in all municipalities along the Raritan Valley line deserve a one-seat ride.
We the people, who use the Raritan Valley Line, urge NJ Transit do the right thing for 1.7 million residents, spanning four counties in municipalities from Union to High Bridge, and bring a full-time one-seat ride for all our commuters.