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Bipartisan 'One Seat Ride Act' Passes House Vote in DC

By John Mooney, TapInto

Published December 5, 2023 at 5:04 PM

WASHINGTON D.C. -- The One Seat Ride Act (H.R. 1547) 356 – 61, led by Congressman Tom Kean, Jr. (R, NJ-07) and cosponsored by Bonnie Watson Coleman (D, NJ-12), passed a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday.

If it passes the U.S. Senate and is signed into law by the President, the One Seat Ride Act would direct the Secretary of Transportation to analyze various obstacles to implementing single-seat trips on certain commuter passenger rail services during ‘peak hours,’ including ‘one-seat-ride' trips on New Jersey’s Raritan Valley line. The train line is a commuter rail service operated by New Jersey Transit (NJT), which serves passengers in municipalities in Union, Somerset, Middlesex, and Hunterdon counties: High Bridge, Annandale, Lebanon, White House, North Branch, Raritan, Somerville, Bridgewater, Bound Brook, Dunellen, Plainfield, Netherwood, Fanwood, Westfield, Garwood, Cranford, Roselle Park, Union, and Newark Penn Station (where passengers must switch for a Manhattan-bound connection), Secaucus Junction, and New York Penn Station.

"As a Co-Chair of the RVL Mayors Alliance, I am always grateful when our Federal partners are focused on advocating funding to look at what it takes to provide one-seat ride to all those who ride the Raritan Valley line every day to New York. This idea of providing equity to our residents who pay to ride the NJTransit  system is incredibly long overdue. 

"In fact, it will be a decade in March 2024 since the first off-peak one-seat rides were introduced. I and the other mayors along the line, expect that with the advancement of the Gateway Tunnels the idea of providing peak-hour one-seat ride by NJ Transit will become a reality," Colleen Mahr, Somerset County Administrator and longtime Mayor of Fanwood, told TAPintoSPF.

"We have waited long enough," added Mahr, who has been a vocal proponent of one-seat rides on the Raritan Valley Line for over a decade. 

Currently, Raritan Valley Line passengers are forced to change trains at Newark Penn Station to access New York City and make the same change heading westbound.  A ‘One-Seat-Ride’ allows passengers to take a single, time-efficient train from stations in Somerset County and Union County (Fanwood, Plainfield Westfield, Garwood, Cranford, Roselle Park, and Union) directly into New York City. 

“I am grateful for the overwhelming bipartisan support that propelled the One-Seat-Ride Act through the House today,” said Kean. “This is another milestone in our mission to pave the way for the crucial One-Seat-Ride needed for my constituents and their fellow New Jerseyans." 

“The Raritan Valley Line serves over 23,000 commuters each day – and many of those commuters have to switch trains at Newark Penn Station during peak commuting hours, unnecessarily extending an already lengthy commute.  This report is a necessary step towards a more efficient system that better serves the hardworking people of New Jersey and allowing them to spend more of their valuable with their families,” said Watson Coleman. 

Read the bill HERE

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