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Village Officials, Assembly Members, Senator Speak Up for South Orange Riders

Assemblyman John McKeon, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey and Senator Dick Codey joined Village officials Alex Torpey and Barry Lewis in talks with New Jersey Transit

As commuters react to a changed New Jersey Transit schedule, the Village of South Orange has released the following statement:

South Orange residents, as well as residents of Livingston and West Orange have  contacted Village officials over the past week to voice concerns related to recent changes to the Midtown Direct train schedule, particularly for  the evening commute departing New York. Residents were concerned that  total travel times were increasing and the trains appeared to be more crowded.

met with NJ Transit officials Wednesday to bring these concerns to Transit's attention, discuss the reasons for the changes, and express the community's concerns about the schedule changes in an effort to see what, if any, solutions might be available.

New Jersey Transit reported that they re-evaluate the train schedules at least twice a year, in the fall and spring, and more frequently if necessary. Transit officials had concerns and complaints about on-time performance and overcrowding on certain evening trains leaving New York. Those concerns were apparently the impetus for these recent schedule adjustments.

In addition to the concerns raised by residents, Village officials questioned whether the influx of new people from the recently started Livingston shuttles was taken into account in NJ Transit’s analysis. Officials also expressed concerns that this schedule change was not communicated in advance directly to the Village.

At the conclusion of the meeting, NJ Transit officials agreed to provide advance notice to the Village of any future proposed schedule changes. They also committed to reviewing the recent changes, including the ridership impact of the Livingston and West Orange shuttles, by the end of the month, and to share the results of that review with the Village. Specific suggestions received from residents for tweaks to the schedule were shared with NJ Transit and they agreed to review those suggestions as well.

All three of South Orange's state legislators - Assemblyman John McKeon, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey and Senator Dick Codey - were brought into the conversation and will be discussing the concerns the Village has raised directly with NJ Transit and other state officials. Additionally, Assemblyman McKeon, possibly joined by Assemblywoman Jasey, will be at Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting (730pm in Village Hall) to update the community on this - and several other state issues - as well as show their commitment to ensuring that the concerns of our community members are heard. Additionally, Village President Torpey has been discussing the impact on commuters with other local mayors, including Mayor Rob Parisi of West Orange and Mayor Stephen Santola of Livingston, who both support South Orange's effort to ensure all of our community's concerns are heard.

While South Orange has no direct control over NJ Transit’s schedule, Village officials are committed to advocating for residents, with our neighbors and state legislators as partners. For this reason, residents affected by any changes are also strongly encouraged to directly contact New Jersey Transit customer service at (973) 275-5555 or submit comments online .

We have asked New Jersey Transit to provide more information in writing about the recent changes, and will be updating the community Monday at the Board of Trustees meeting at the latest.

David Solomon October 19, 2012 at 01:55 PM
As frustrated as we commuters are with NJT lack of communication and implementing a schedule causing more problems than solving we should be thankful for our Village and other elected officials proactively taking NJT to task for this negative impact to our quality of life. I know I will be forwarding on my as of yet unanswered email complaints to NJT senior management that was posted on the other related entry. I urge other to do so as well given the normal customer service channels (offices, phone, email, twitter) seem pointless. I would also like to raise attention regarding the 2nd class riders - those commuting home from Hoboken to South Orange. Our scheduling and service plays second fiddle to MD service. Any changes there are multiplied on our service which was reduced outright with the latest schedule and time between trains expanded, particularly if like most you work until after 6pm. I remain perplexed after 12+ yrs of daily ridership at how NJT mgt thinks riders have flexible schedules which we can change 5 or 10 minutes to meet schedule changes. I know I can't leave my office earlier to now meet any of the 3 SO trains from Hoboken departing btwn 6-7pm, all of which are now earlier. Like most I am now forced to take a later train, which are less frequent and more crowded. Home later, less family time, less convenient, lower quality of life. At least no fare increase was announced, yet....
Scott Greenstone October 19, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Some great tips from Dough Newman on this topic: NJ Transit sometimes responds to strong and angry push back from its ridership. I recommend skipping its customer service center and complaining directly to its senior management: Senior Director, Community & Government Relations - John C. Leon jleon@njtransit.com or 973-491-8098 Senior Director, Customer Service & Transit Information - Anthony Grieco agrieco@njtransit.com And, if they're unresponsive complaints should be escalated to: Board Chairman - James Simpson Executive Director - James Weinstein NJ TRANSIT Corporation One Penn Plaza East Newark, NJ 07105-2246 (973) 491-8800 (Board Inquires) (973) 491-7071 (Fax) E-mail Board: njtboard@njtransit.com
Scott Greenstone October 21, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Pass on the petition. Thanks http://www.change.org/petitions/john-c-leon-nj-transit-senior-director-community-government-relations-restore-previous-levels-of-express-service-to-south-orange-station-3

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