NJ Transit Board Announces Meeting Schedule

Unless otherwise indicated, meetings will be held at NJ TRANSIT’s Corporate Headquarters in Newark, New Jersey. The meetings will convene in the Board Room at NJ TRANSIT’s Headquarters, One Penn Plaza East, Ninth Floor, Newark, New Jersey.
The specific dates and times are as follows:

July 20, 2022 (3rd Wed.)
August 2022
September 21, 2022 (3rd Wed.)
October 12, 2022
November 9, 2022
December 14, 2022
January 2023
February 8, 2023
March 13, 2023 (2nd Mon.)
April 19, 2023 (3rd Wed.)
May 10, 2023
June 14, 2023

6:00 p.m. Evening
NO MEETING
9:00 a.m.
6:00 p.m. Evening
9:00 a.m.
9:00 a.m.
NO MEETING
6:00 p.m. Evening
6:00 p.m. Evening
9:00 a.m.
6:00 p.m. Evening
9:00 a.m.

Live! In Person! The April NJT Board Meeting!

We are pleased to note that the April board meeting will be held live on Wednesday morning, April 13th, at 9 a.m., at NJ Transit headquarters in Newark—for the first time in more than 2 years. Since March 2020, all meetings have been by phone—and without even live-streamed presentations of the A number of people requested that the call-in option be maintained. Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti stated that in fact the call-in option will be continued, as it has proven quite popular, opening up participation to many who found travel difficult for various reasons. We hope that members of the public who make the effort to attend in person will have their full 5 minutes to be heard. In any case, it will be good to chat in person and to once again have the new board room used to its full capacity, presentations and all!

AmeriStar Rail: More Service on the NEC, Rail Plans for LaGuardia

As we learned at our November, meeting, there could be a lot more trains on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC) with AmeriStar Rail’s operating plan (www.ameristarrail.com/impact). Chief Operating Officer Scott R. Spencer presented that plan to us, saying that the NEC is currently underutilized. The restructured plan for intercity trains would not affect NJ Transit (including Morris & Essex and Montclair) trains using all or part of the railroad from Trenton to Penn Station, New York.

Continue Reading AmeriStar Rail: More Service on the NEC, Rail Plans for LaGuardia

Accomplishments over the Past Year

  • testified (both David Peter Alan and Sally Jane Gellert) at Transit Equity Day, Feb. 4, hearings organized by the Labor Network for Sustainability, stressing the needs of the transit-dependent and the value of public transit for a healthy environment
  • encouraged NJ Transit to open its larger stations as vaccination sites, which they did in August 2021 at Secaucus and Newark Penn Station (interestingly, though no longer an employee, Stewart Mader agreed with us on this one!)
  • objected to the hiring of someone designated a “customer advocate” rather than a “customer experience officer”, “ombudsperson”, or some such term. Our fears were proven accurate when Stewart Mader was roundly criticized for being more of a public-relations person than an advocate for customers.
  • created a new WordPress Website—though we are still working out the connection to the forum where so much member discussion takes place, our main site, currently using the URL www.lackawannacoalition.net, is up to date and functioning well. We are working on posting our back issues of the Railgram.
  • 2 museum outings
    • to Mahwah Station Museum on Mahwah Day, with a special thanks to John and Cathy, who opened just for us, with its memorabilia of the Erie line, from china to timetables to bells and photos, and where they are raising funds to restore the caboose that sits behind the station, damaged in a storm and in need of a new roof, and
    • to Whippany Rail Museum, where we rode a classic parlor car, complete with accurately reproduced furnishings, from carpet to lamps to wicker chairs
  • returned to in-person meetings after being solely on MaestroConference since March 2020—time will tell if we need to retreat again, but for now we have a core group back in our traditional home, the Millburn Town Hall conference room and still connecting with those further away, or more vulnerable, through MaestroConference (thank you, InterOccupy!)
  • published a Railgram EXTRA! in November 2021 with the text of our 2 most recent statements, expressing our concerns about the planned Greenway and interest in ensuring that any regional fare card preserve adherence to the federal laws for half-price senior fares

Resolved: We Call for Permanent Federal Operating Support for Transit

At a meeting of the Lackawanna Coalition held at Millburn, New Jersey and by telephone conference on October 25, 2021, the following resolution was adopted:

WHEREAS the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant changes in travel patterns in the United States, including reduced commuting on New Jersey Transit (NJT) and similar railroads that formerly served large numbers of commuters, and reduced use of transit generally; and

Continue Reading Resolved: We Call for Permanent Federal Operating Support for Transit

Secaucus to Meadowlands Transitway

At the added August board meeting, a concept/design contract for this project, which began in April with an Innovation Challenge. The goal is to improve transit between Secaucus Junction and the Meadowlands complex. We question spending $3.5 million for the study—for that, we could surely have weekend service to Montclair State!—but given the approval, hope that they are actually investigating real needs, not unverified corporate allegations; that they consider using assets they already have—rail lines, primarily—and that the private entities that are looking for more options for employees and customers alike will be asked to contribute to the cost. We understand that there are contractual obligations, but they are very unclear, and we hope that the board insists on realistic cost projections and funding plans before going any further with this project.

Resolved: 2 Statements from the Coalition

Our August meeting was productive; we had been talking about a few issues on which we were able to come to resolution, and we approved two statements:

Regional Fare Cards: Not So Fast!

We are concerned about recent suggestions to have NJ Transit accept regional fare cards, despite the convenience for most riders, as we have yet to see one implemented in a manner that allows senior citizens to their federally-mandated discounts without preregistration. Conditions of federal funding requires that seniors with proper ID need only present theieRr document (Medicare card, usually, with photo ID if requested).

Greenway?

Our open letter to the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) suggests that the plan for Norfolk Southern to sell its right of way on the former Lower Greenwood Lake line to Open Space Institute or to private real estate investors is a mistake. We believe that it is imperative to prevent removal of the tracks on the right-of-way, a valuable asset, so that there is the possibility of restoration of freight and/or passenger service. We ask the NJTPA to persuade New Jersey Transit to purchase the right-of-way for future use.

RUN Conference

On Friday, October 15th, from 1 to 5 p.m., the Rail Users’ Network hosts a regional miniconference focussing on Midwestern rail. They hope to host the long-delayed Newark conference in person in Spring 2022, with the Lackawanna Coalition as local advocacy partner and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Association as host. Keep watching for details!