South Orange commuters have banded together, launching a petition and meeting on Tuesday with NJ Transit officials. Many train riders have come forward to protest October schedule changes that mean fewer trains stop in South Orange.
NJ Transit officials conceded in October that South Orange service has decreased, since the new commuter schedule took effect.
New Jersey Transit touted the in the evening commuter hours. However, when questioned by trustee Mark Rosner at a transit spokesman acknowledged though there is a new train on the line, there are no additional South Orange stops. Trustee Nancy Gould further noted those trains that serve South Orange in the evening make more stops than previously.
Resident, commuter and petition organizer Scott Greenstone met with NJ Transit officials on Tuesday. He sent this report of the meeting:
Tonight we met with NJ Transit. Unfortunately it was not as productive as we had hoped. Despite sending our requests for review over two weeks ago, they had nothing to offer us at this time. In all honesty, we considered walking out right from the start.
However, after almost two hours of some heated discussion, we are pretty confident that we convinced them that they made an error in judgement. As one of our team stated, they took an express stop Transit Village station and moved us to the bottom, making South Orange a local station with inferior equipment. Again, we are pretty sure they got our message.
As you can probably understand, the impacts of Sandy have hampered their efforts in collecting the appropriate data needed to make any significant changes. In addition, ridership patterns are modified during the holidays, so accurate data is difficult to obtain.
As a result, we agreed to give them 2 weeks in early January to gather any supporting data they need. They will then take an additional week to crunch the data and hopefully come up with some interim modifications to present to us at a meeting already scheduled for the last week in January.
Depending on the results of their planning, we will look to have modifications made to the schedule as quickly as possible.
In addition to some interim modifications, we are hoping to have some additional, more significant modifications to the schedule when the bi-annual schedule changes occur in March or April 2013.
We know this is not as great or as quick as we had hoped, but the reality is that changing schedules is not as easy as we think.
As always, we thank you for you continued support and hopefully we will only have to endure the new schedule for only a little bit longer.