As a former commuter for 10 years, I have experienced first-hand the pains of not having a one-seat ride on the Raritan Valley rail line. I know all too well that extra time on public transit to and from work means less time with your family.

I knew I had to join the fight, and so in 2012 I became an active member of the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, a non-profit, bipartisan group representing 1.7 million residents and 23,500 passengers daily whose primary mission is to achieve a one-seat ride from the Raritan Valley Line into Penn Station, New York.

After years of both advocacy and hard work, Westfield residents proudly took the first direct Train to NYC on Raritan Valley Line on March 3, 2014,

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Unfortunately, our direct service was suspended last year as a result of positive train control issues, with the promise to be restored earlier this year. It’s no secret that losing our off-peak direct train service to NYC has been a major frustration for the residents of Westfield.

As your Councilman, I will always actively seek out innovative ways to help improve your commute and quality of life. Following the direct service cancelation, I worked with Joe Colangelo, owner of Boxcar, to bring the luxury bus service to Westfield as an alternative commuting option.

Alternatives like Boxcar are helpful, but I hear you… they are not enough. If we can work together as the resilient Westfield community I know we are, then I know that we can restore a direct line to Manhattan.

In the next few months, 3 new classes of NJ Transit engineers will graduate, helping to ease delays. There are also 2 bills currently pending in the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities committee that support improving our service:

  • S3659 requires NJT to temporarily adopt reduced fare schedule on the Raritan Valley Line until direct service is restored.
  • S3574 requires NJT to conduct feasibility study on restoring one-seat ride to Manhattan on Raritan Valley Line.

I will continue to fight for direct peak train service between Westfield and Manhattan and for our direct off-peak service to be restored. We need more same track transfers, more trains into Hoboken, and above all a “one-seat ride” to New York. The Raritan Valley Line is the third most utilized NJ Transit rail line.

Want to take action? You can do so by signing the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition petition, contacting your local legislators, or writing letters to NJ Transit. Let’s put community above politics and get the job done. We did it once before, and together we can do it again!

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