Union County, NJ – The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition (RVRC) will hold a public meeting – remotely via Zoom – on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. The featured speaker is Rep. Tom Malinowski and he is expected to discuss the Gateway Project and in particular the Portal Bridge Project. This virtual event is free to attend and pre-registration is required.
Those wishing to attend can pre-register at https://bit.ly/2HjuPPt. Participants with questions during the meeting, can use the chat function or the hand raising feature, located on the participant screen. Please try to enter about ten minutes before the start of the meeting.
“The progress that has been made by the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition has been beneficial to many Union County residents,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman, Alexander Mirabella. “We are grateful to the RVRC for their hard work over the past 20 years.”
The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, which represents Union, Somerset, Middlesex and Hunterdon Counties, was created nearly two decades ago to campaign for a one-seat ride on the Raritan Valley Line, which has 23,500 passengers daily, making it NJ Transit’s third most-used rail line. While track connectivity existed into New York, Raritan Valley riders always had to get off in Newark and switch trains because their diesel engines were not allowed into the tunnels under the Hudson River.
That changed in 2014, when NJ Transit began using dual-mode locomotives that could switch from diesel to electric power, making it possible to have a direct ride into New York City. A limited, one-seat ride was introduced during off-peak hours in January, 2015 by NJ Transit, and returned after a period of suspension last year. After another suspension earlier this year, the limited one-seat ride is back.
“The RVRC has been working diligently for years, and continued to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic, to improve service for over 23,000 daily riders,” said Raritan Valley Rail Coalition Chairman, Bruce Bergen. “Many residents along the Raritan Valley Line continued to require regular transportation into New York City even with reduced workforces having been implemented during the shutdown.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, public transportation services were heavily affected. The Raritan Valley Line was no exception. One-seat rides were cancelled when New Jersey Transit reduced its service to accommodate for plummeting ridership during the 2020 Spring and Summer shutdown months. One-seat rides on the Raritan Valley Line have since been reinstated but only back to their off-peak hours from Monday to Friday, meaning passengers still have to transfer trains daily if travelling to and from work during rush hour.
“Raritan Valley line riders deserve a more even distribution of one-seat rides to and from New York during rush hour, ” said Freeholder Liaison to the RVRC Bette Jane Kowalski, “We have been told that the Gateway Project, with its additional tunnels, could be necessary for that to happen. But we believe it should be possible to add a few more direct rides to New York, especially with ridership currently reduced by the pandemic.”
The Coalition, whose membership includes County and State Officials, can be reached on email at info@Raritanvalleyrail.com, is on the web at www.raritanvalleyrail.com/, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/raritanvalleyrail/, and Twitter at https://twitter.com/rvrailcoalition.
For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including guidance for the free Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University, visit ucnj.org/coronavirus-update.
For general information about COVID-19 and phone contacts for 24/7 assistance with questions, visit the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.
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