Commuters will see some relief in March, as the 6:19 from Penn Station will eliminate two stops and reach South Orange faster. The change takes effect on March 24, according to NJTransit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder.
Snyder also said that rail planners are "actively looking" at additional changes. "We are looking at options," she said, based on increased ridership.
Commuters spoke Tuesday night to NJTransit officials in Penn Station. South Orange-based commuters, including many Livingston and West Orange residents, continue to express frustration with changes in the schedule that see fewer express trains stopping in South Orange. This change took effect in the fall, just before Sandy. The schedule change meant South Orange lost non-stop trains leaving the city.
A Maplewood resident Jennifer Weiss-Wolf said then, "The evening is a disaster," she says.
South Orange Trustee and daily commuter Mark Rosner notes, "It makes no sense to offer less express trains to South Orange than it did previously." Not only are Maplewood and South Orange in the top three for state ridership, says Rosner, but Livingston and West Orange run jitneys to South Orange.
One of the selling points of South Orange is the easy commute. The New York Times last year cited the community's three greatest attributes: the rich and varied architecture, the demographic diversity, and the easy commute into Manhattan.
Likewise, Livingston recently launched a mall-to-station shuttle bus.
for the restoration of schedule and service to the pre-October 14, 2012 level. Trustees voted Monday to pass resolution 2012-283 noting the "negative impact to quality of life, property values and business productivity" of recent transit changes.
The resolution notes that South Orange sees 3,800 riders daily. The South Orange station is also fully-accessible, and is a designated "Transit Village." The station serves commuters from South Orange, Maplewood, Livingston and West Orange.