NEWARK,NJ --- Members of the Raritan Valley Line Mayors Alliance stood on Platform 5 in Newark Penn Station on Tuesday to meet and speak with RVL commuters about what they are doing to get improved service for RVL.
Representatives of the Alliance, a bipartisan organization of 32 mayors, handed out information they provided to Gov. Phil Murphy, State Senators on the line, DOT Commissioner Diane Guiterrez-Scaccetti, and NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett. The mayors also collected signatures for a petition.
Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle said the Alliance has been working and meeting with State Senators Tom Kean, Joe Cryan, Patrick Diegnan, Nick Scutari, Christopher Bateman, Michael Doherty and Robert Smith for almost a year.
“We need to know when the off peak one-seat trains, suspended last fall, will be restored and when RVL gets peak hour direct trains. We don’t need more studies. We need a commitment to make this happen,” she added.
Earlier this month, Senator Scutari and Senator Kean introduced a bill asking for NJ Transit to study the issue.
“We don’t think that goes far enough,” said Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr. “We provided recommendations to that bill that we hope legislators will seriously consider.”
The RVL Mayors Alliance position is:
- Work with Amtrak to get 100% same platform transfer Newark to NY for all peak hour Eastbound trains
- Within 6 months, restore off peak one-seat direct trains
- Within 12 months, implement at least one peak hour one seat direct train, am & pm
- Within 12 months, implement weekend one-seat direct train service
According to Bound Brook Mayor Robert Fazen, the rally was an opportunity for us to meet commuters directly and let them know what we are doing on their behalf. “As mayors, we talk to residents regularly and know how this arduous commute affects their quality of life,” he said. "The platform transfer adds 25 to 35 minutes each way but often delays cause commuters to miss a connecting train causing an even longer commute."
The RVL Mayors Co-Chairs Brindle, Mahr and Fazen are hoping Tuesday's rally will shine a spotlight on the inequitable service on the Raritan Valley Line that has seen significant ridership growth in recent years. Trains lines with comparable or less riders have direct train service while RVL has none.
The Raritan Valley Mayors Alliance was organized in 2018 by the co-chairs as a way to involve and engage all of the mayors of towns along the line. For more information www.rvlmayors.org.