TRENTON, NJ -- Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean requiring NJ Transit to study the restoration of the Raritan Valley Line’s full-time direct rail service to New York Penn Station was signed into law.
"Raritan Valley Line commuters deserve a one-seat ride to Manhattan,” said Kean (R-21). “Restoring full-time, one-seat rides will increase property values and cut travel times. The enactment of this study is a step in the right direction to get the Raritan Valley Line back on track, leading to shorter, smoother, and safer commutes.”
Kean’s bipartisan legislation, S-3574/A-5256, calls for a feasibility study on offering Raritan Valley Line customers full-time direct rail service to Manhattan’s New York Penn Station.
“I have long fought for a one-seat ride to New York Penn that doesn’t require commuters to waste time switching trains as they travel to and from work each day,” added Kean. “While we have restored off-peak service, I am hopeful this study will help us find the answers we need to give NJ Transit commuters the quality of service they deserve.”
Senator Kean has worked closely with his constituents and advocacy groups, including the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition and the Raritan Valley Line Mayor’s Alliance to make a one-seat ride a reality.
”I want to thank our legislative representatives and to Governor Murphy for making this a priority,” Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, co-chair of the Raritan Valley Mayor’s Alliance, said. ”The RVL Mayors Alliance has been working closely with our state leaders on solutions for our region’s commuters and have been pressing for full implementation of the one-seat ride.”
”While we are encouraged by this step forward, it comes after more than 8 years of tireless advocacy for improved service on the RVL. It’s unfortunate that it has to take an act of the legislature to study something that we have been asking for years to be done," Mayor Mahr added. "Today’s action gives me hope that we are closer than ever to getting the equitable service and improved quality of life 23,000 commuters deserve. I, along with 30 other Mayors along the RVL look forward to reading the report, which we expect in June.”
Local mayors Al Smith of Scotch Plains and Shelley Brindle of Westfield also support one-seat ride service.
"One of my top priorities is to make one-seat ride on the Raritan Valley Line a reality," said Mayor Al Smith, who estimates, several hundred Scotch Plains and Fanwood commuters use the train service on a daily basis.
"We're even closer than we've ever been," said Mayor Shelley Brindle of Westfield. "I think they're going to have to come back and give us some answers, and that is progress."
The Raritan Valley line comprises about 10 percent of NJ Transit’s daily ridership system-wide.