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First steps to improve midtown direct service to South Orange announced

Local and state elected officials met with NJ Transit representatives Wednesday to discuss the first steps moving forward to improving Midtown Direct train service to South Orange

Local and state elected officials met with NJ Transit representatives Wednesday to discuss the first steps moving forward to improving Midtown Direct train service to South Orange, beginning to mitigate changes last October that negatively impacted the service to the Village's commuters. The nearly 4,000 riders who use South Orange station each week day include hundreds of residents from nearby West Orange and Livingston.
 
In Wednesday's meeting, NJ Transit officials announced a proposal aimed at reducing evening travel time for commuters by eliminating two stops from the 6:19 Midtown Direct train from NY Penn Station. Elimination of Train 6355's stops in Secaucus and Newark would reduce this train's travel time to South Orange by approximately six minutes, and reduce unscheduled delays, thanks to more efficient positioning of the train in the evening's que. The removal of these two stops will also help ease congestion on this train.
 
Additionally, 100 more multi-level train cars are being delivered to NJ Transit now through August, which will further help ease congestion.
 
NJ Transit officials will be attending the South Orange's Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, January 28th (8pm, South Orange Village Hall) to present their proposal in more detail to the public and interested commuters, as well as discuss how the restoration of more Hoboken and PATH trains will impact service, and several other topics. All interested parties and community members are encouraged to attend.
 
Officials Wednesday also discussed potential capital improvements to the South Orange train station, strategies to ensure long-term funding for commuter jitneys. Officials also commited to continue to explore more steps that are needed to mitigate the concerns around last October's schedule changes, especially as South Orange continues to redevelop key areas in the downtown adjacent to the train station and welcomes an increasing number of commuters from neighboring towns.
 
Present at Wednesday's meeting from NJ Transit were Paul Wyckoff, Chief of Government and External Affairs, John Leon, Senior Director of Government and Community Relations; Anthony Greico, Senior Director of Customer Service & Transit Information; Rae Hutton, Senior Director of Legislative Affairs; Tom Morgan, Senior Director of Rail Service Planning; Sallie Morris, Regional Manager of Government Affairs; as well as Assemblywoman Mila Jasey; Mary Theroux, Chief of Staff to Assemblywoman Jasey, Ron Botelho, Chief of Staff to Assemblyman John McKeon; Justin Davis, Aide to Senator Richard Codey, South Orange Village President Alex Torpey, West Orange Mayor Rob Parisi; Livingston Mayor Rudy Fernandez and South Orange Trustee Mark Rosner.

Additionally, view the original schedule, the changed October 2012 schedule, and proposed new schedule below.

This is a joint press release from the Village of South Orange, Township of West Orange, Township of Livingston and the members of New Jersey's 27th Legislative District.

For more information, tune in Monday night to the South Orange Board of Trustees meeting at 8pm. Meetings can be watched live online at http://southorange.org. Contact atorpey@southorange.org or 973 378 7715 x2 for more.

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Steve January 24, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Interesting that the press release does not mention when these very minor changes will be implemented. As I understand it, it won't be for another two months. Moreover, these changes are nothing more than a baby step. I hope that these elected officials - particularly Gov. Codey, Asw. Jasey, and Asm. McKeon maintain pressure on NJTransit to ensure that when the April schedule revision is released that commuters from the South Orange train station receive the service warranted based upon the passenger volume.
Laurence Hirsch January 25, 2013 at 03:26 AM
The proposed changes, while better than nothing, are the wrong ones. Anyone who has been on the 6:19 knows that a lot of people get off at Secaucus so eliminating that stop will not reduce congestion. The problem is that the train stops at every stop between East Orange and South Orange. If one or two of those stops (Highland Avenue) were switched to the 5:48 much of the time problem would be alleviated.
Clive January 25, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Why is this being turned into a big PHOTO OP - all it needs is a conference call and a few practical and rational changes to the schedule starting February 1st. They should all go home early get a good nights sleep and wake up with fresh minds to help us have brighter tomorrows. It's not that big a deal or difficult - skip the Charade and Parade of the big Hunchos. Just do it.
William Blake January 25, 2013 at 08:51 PM
An extremely disappointing announcement that effectively delays any meaningful restoration of pre-October service levels for many more months. What NJT needs to do is go back to the old schedule noting travel times for peak NYP-SO service and bring the entire evening schedule back in line with those standards. Instead we get a slight tweaking of one train. I posted this before but it bears repeating. Look at the numbers below. How does shaving a couple stops off on one train address the fact that overall our commute is significantly LONGER and LATER than it was in October? 10/11/12 Schedule 10/14/12 Schedule Difference 5:14-5:42 - 28 mins 5:19-5:54 – 35 mins 7 mins longer, 12 mins later 5:54-6:23 - 29 mins 5:48-6:23 – 35 mins 6 mins longer, same arrival time 6:20-6:51 - 31 mins 6:19-6:59 – 40 mins 9 mins longer, 8 mins later 6:42-7:17 - 35 mins 6:50-7:27 – 37 mins 2 mins longer, 10 mins later 7:18-7:52 - 34 mins 7:18-7:51 – 33 mins 1 min shorter, 1 min earlier 8:02-8:32 - 30 mins 8:02-8:34 – 32 mins 2 mins longer, 2 mins later The worst train which is 9 minutes longer and arrives 8 minutes later will now be a little less longer and a little less later. None of the others above are being addressed at all. Overall profoundly disappointing and frustrating.

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