October 14, 2019 WESTFIELD--- Today, mayors from towns on the Raritan Valley Line heard some good news from Governor Phil Murphy when he announced restoration of the off-peak midtown direct trains beginning November 7th.
The Raritan Valley Line Mayors’ Alliance, a bipartisan organization of 32 mayors, held rallies with commuters, met with representatives from the Governor’s office and Congressman Tom Malinowski, State legislators and NJ Transit since the off-peak service was suspended in 2018. Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, who is a co-chair of the RVL Mayors, thanked the Governor for recognizing that the 23,000 RVL commuters deserve some relief. “This action is important and provides an option for commuters but we will continue making the case for direct train service during peak rush hours and weekend. Ridership on RVL continues to grow and in fact, has the third highest ridership (excluding Northeast Corridor) on the NJ Transit system” she said.
The RVL Mayors’ Alliance report “Making the Case for a One-Seat Ride” compares ridership and direct train services of five train lines. RVL, which falls in the middle, is the only line with zero direct trains. “We are asking for equitable, reliable service for our constituents,” Mahr added.
Bound Brook Mayor Bob Fazen, also a co-chair, emphasized the lack of one-seat rides into NY Penn has a negative impact on towns. “It affects home values and ability to attract investment and business. Realtors tell us that home buyers are looking elsewhere for towns with midtown direct trains,” said Mayor Fazen. “This is particularly frustrating because of the significant Transit-Oriented Development along the RVL,” he added.
RVL Mayors held two rallies at Newark Penn Station in recent months and collected hundreds of signatures from commuters. Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle, who was unable to attend this morning’s announcement, acknowledged the tremendous support from the public. “You spoke out, rallied with us, signed petitions and got attention for the Raritan Valley Line. We pledge to continue working on your behalf,” said Mayor Brindle, “and remain committed to finding solutions that improve service.”
For more information www.rvlmayors.org