REGION, NJ — NJ TRANSIT customers on the Raritan Valley Line will enjoy direct “one-seat” rides after the weekday evening rush hour to and from Manhattan beginning January 12, the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition announced Thursday. Since March, daytime off-peak one-seat rides, which don’t require riders to switch trains at any point during their trip, have been available on the line weekdays between 8:43 a.m. and 4:25 p.m.

The RVRC expects that there will be four weekday evening direct trains leaving New York Penn Station between 9 p.m. and midnight, but exact times have not yet been published.

After delaying the start of evening one-seat rides in October, NJ TRANSIT moved forward to implement them after securing funding from the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA). Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski emphasized the importance of the decision.

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“We appreciate the support from the NJTPA on this issue,” said Kowalski. “The cost of expanding the one-seat ride on the RVL is low compared with the enormous payback in terms of economic development, improved property values and the productivity of our commuting workforce.”

“The coalition launched a public information campaign, including public meetings, and worked closely with NJ TRANSIT to get this important second phase of direct train service on the RVL,” said Peter Palmer, RVRC Chairman and Somerset County Freeholder. “But we’re only halfway toward our goal of full mid-town direct service.”

The ultimate goal of the RVRC, which has championed the one-seat direct train service to NYC since 1998, is full midtown direct service. Currently, riders on peak hour and weekend trains still have to transfer in Newark. Members of the RVRC continue to meet regularly with NJ TRANSIT officials to accomplish that goal.

“We understand the complex nature of implementing these changes,” said Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, who heads the Mayor’s Coalition. “However, our first responsibility is to the residents of every town on the RVL and making sure they are treated fairly in the transit system.”