Mayors of municipalities along the Raritan Valley Line met recently to discuss NJ Transit’s response to three issues facing commuters on that line and how best to advocate for their residents.
The Raritan Valley Mayors Alliance is working to get a same-platform transfer in Newark, the return of the off-peak midtown direct trains and ultimately, direct trains during peak commuter hours and on weekends.
Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle, a co-chair of RVL Mayors, said the return of the off-peak direct trains that were suspended last fall so NJ Transit could install the positive train control system is the top pressing issue.
“Three lines were affected and only Raritan Valley hasn’t been restored. RVL Mayors have asked repeatedly, including at the recent NJ Transit Listening Tour in Westfield, and it appears there is no plan to return those trains to service in the near future,” Brindle said. "This is unacceptable. We represent more than 23,000 commuters, and mayors can be a powerful voice for their residents."
Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, who also co-chairs RVL Mayors, said the platform transfer in Newark is a significant issue for commuters, who must race downstairs then up to another platform hoping to catch a train into New York Penn Station.
“The platforms and stairways are jammed packed and people sometimes miss a connection,” Mahr stated.
The 32 mayors of the Raritan Valley Line are asking NJ Transit to at least improve service for riders by providing a same-platform transfer in Newark.
“We don’t have a one-seat ride into NY so having to deal with a platform transfer is adding insult to injury. We’re the forgotten commuters but the Raritan Valley Line Mayors Alliance plans to change that,” Mahr said.
RVL Mayors have met with state senators, members of the Assembly, NJ Transit and plan to be more vocal and visible.
“We’re tired of being the forgotten commuters,” Mahr said.
RVL Mayors is a bipartisan, independent Alliance of 32 mayors spanning four counties and organized by Mayors Mahr, Brindle and Mayor Bob Fazen of Bound Brook in 2018 to engage and organize the mayors, as well as the public.
More information, visit the Raritan Valley Mayors Alliance website www.rvlmayors.org.