Kean Continues Fight for One-Seat Rides on the Raritan Valley Line
NJ Transit would be required to study the feasibility of offering Raritan Valley Line commuters one-seat rides to New York Penn Station, under legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and today advanced by the Senate Transportation Committee.
Raritan Valley Line’s single ride service into Manhattan was suspended in 2018 to free up engineers to install Positive Train Control on NJ Transit trains statewide. There is still no established timeline for restoring one-seat rides on the Raritan Valley Line.
“Raritan Valley Line commuters deserve one-seat rides to New York Penn. The commuters in my district have been very vocal about how the recent service interruptions have negatively impacted their lives. They deserve answers – not more delays,” Sen. Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris) said. “Full time one-seat rides would shorten commutes and raise property values. It’s time for us to take action and get the Raritan Valley Line back on the right track.”
The Raritan Valley line comprises about 10 percent of NJ Transit’s daily ridership system-wide. Despite the high volume of customers that ride this line to New York City, the Raritan Valley line is the only line that does not have one-seat service into Manhattan any day of the week.
Senator Kean’s bipartisan legislation, S-3574, would require NJ Transit to conduct a feasibility study on offering Raritan Valley Line customers full-time direct rail service to Manhattan’s New York Penn Station.
The report required by S-3574 must answer the following questions:
- Why one-seat ride service was initially suspended
- The historical and expected ridership for direct rail service to New York City
- Actions NJ Transit must take in order to provide direct rail service
- The amount of time it would take to implement direct rail service, as well as the estimated cost
- Any factors that may delay or increase the cost of providing direct rail service.
As a long-time advocate for Raritan Valley Line commuters, Senator Kean has worked with the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition and the Raritan Valley Line Mayor’s Alliance to generate various Legislative solutions to improve rail service for commuters statewide. Kean has also been a vocal advocate for the Gateway Tunnel, the Port Authority Bus Terminal expansion, and a wide variety of initiatives to strengthen transportation infrastructure and help commuters across the region.
Following his calls for action, the administration recently implemented Senator Kean’s proposal to address dangerous staffing shortages, by allowing out-of-state engineers to bypass in-state residency requirements and apply for positions at NJ Transit.
“We have long-suspected that one-seat rides on the Raritan Valley Line were suspended, in part because of the engineer shortage at NJ Transit. That’s one of the reasons I advocated so strongly for getting rid of unfair residency requirements that make New Jersey less competitive and put our residents and our industries at a serious disadvantage,” Kean said.
“Now that we have addressed the hiring shortage, we need to turn our attention to bringing full time, direct rail service to the Raritan Valley Line as soon as possible. I will continue to work on a bipartisan basis to ensure every New Jersey commuter has a shorter, smoother and safer commute.”