FANWOOD, NJ – Riders on NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley rail line recently moved a few steps closer to having complete “One Seat Ride” train service to New York City’s Penn Station, when Investors Foundation provided a $2,500 grant to the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition (RVRC).  The Foundation provides grants to organizations that enrich the communities served by Investors Bank.

The RVRC’s Chair Peter Palmer, who is also a Somerset County Freeholder, said, “We appreciate the support from the Foundation and Investors Bank because they are the first major organization to help us assist thousands of Raritan Valley rail riders. The Foundation’s support of our “One Seat Ride,” which we have pursued for many years, will help get us closer to achieving this goal.”

The “One Seat Ride” means that people can board a train in any of the communities along NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley Line and it will take them directly to Manhattan. Currently, commuters and local residents board a train at their local station, ride to Newark, change trains, and then travel to NYC.  Or, they must drive to a station miles anyway from their community that has direct rail service to Manhattan.

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Right now, Raritan Valley is the only major rail line in the NJ Transit system that has track connectivity to New York City and is without “One Seat Ride” service on weekends and during the morning and evening rush hours.

RVRC has a four-step plan to complete its “One Seat Ride” goal. Over the past two years the Coalition has achieved the first two steps by securing a “One Seat Ride” at midday and early afternoon for Raritan Valley riders, and then arranged “direct service” on weekdays after 8 PM. The next two steps involve adding weekend “One Seat Ride” service and two trains at peak commuting times in the morning and afternoon.

During the Investors Foundation check presentation ceremonies at the Fanwood train station on July 23, RVRC Trustee Bette Jane Kowalski, who is also a Freeholder in Union County, said, “By advocating for improved rail service, we are on the right track to delivering real benefits to residents and local businesses and the changes we are recommending can be completed without major construction expenses.”

Fanwood Mayor Collen Mahr, who also heads the Coalition of Mayors in supporting the RVRC, said, “The Investors Foundation is a true ally, and along with the Bank, together they are dedicated corporate partners that are all about serving the community.”

The importance of achieving a full ‘One Seat’ ride in shown by communities that have added “direct rail service” to New York City who have experienced significant economic benefits, including an increase in property values.

Investors Bank CEO Kevin Cummings said, “NJ Transit’s commuters and riders and the communities along the rail lines can always use a caring and helpful hand. We have formed an alliance with RVRC because it is a grassroots organization that is taking positive action to assist people. Investors shares this commitment because we are a different bank that is making a genuine changes in the communities we serve.”

For more information about the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition’s “One Seat Ride” program, please visit the website at www.raritanvalley.com or send an email to info@raritanvalleyrail.com.  Or, follow RVRC on Facebook and Twitter.