FAQ's

How can I support implementation of the “one seat” ride for the Raritan Valley Line?

The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition “one seat” ride campaign encourages you to take the following actions.

  • Review the materials about “one seat” ride service and its benefits to towns and residents alike.
  • Click on one of the several sample letters on the Action Page of this site and e-mail and mail a hard copy of each letter to Mr. James Weinstein, Executive Director NJ Transit, to your municipal and county governments and your state legislative representatives.
  • The Coalition needs your financial help to sustain a web site and social media campaign to get the word out about the many benefits “one seat” ride service can bring to the towns and residents along the Raritan Valley line. We are asking for any amount in the form of a tax deductible donation will help the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition to sustain its “one seat” ride campaign. There is a link to PayPal if you wish to make any donation.
  • In short, go to the Action page and take ALL of the actions! TIME IS SHORT, so please do this as soon as possible!

If you require additional information please e-mail your questions to the following e-mail address [email protected]

When will NJ TRANSIT decide on the final scheduling of dual-powered locomotives?

RVRC has not been given any timeframes or procedures for the further deployment of the dual-powered locomotives. At this point, we do not know what NJ TRANSIT’s planning considerations are for the deployment of the dual-powered locomotives, what its schedule is for such a deployment, how many of the locomotives will be allocated permanently to our line or what might be the potential schedule.

 

What are the current plans for a “pilot” Raritan Valley program using dual-powered locomotives?

NJ TRANSIT has announced plans for a ‘pilot’ program for the use of dual-powered locomotives on the Raritan Valley Line to be launched in April of 2014. However, the current plan is for an unspecified number of off peak, weekday trains to use dual-powered locomotives for limited “one seat” service.

RVRC has redoubled its efforts to achieve a much broader “one seat” service. While RVRC recognizes that the pilot program won’t necessarily reflect the final scheduling, it is important that NJ TRANSIT understands the need to plan for a much more extensive use of the “one seat” service on the Raritan Valley Line.

What would be an equitable allocation of “one seat” ride service?

The Raritan Valley line currently makes up about 10% of NJ Transit’s daily ridership system wide. However, the Raritan Valley line still does not have “one seat” ride service into Manhattan anytime or any day of the week.

Based on ridership, the RVRC proposes direct service on:

– All off-peak weekday trains ;

– all weekend trains;

– two AM and PM peak hour weekday trains.

How will a “one seat” ride service benefit housing values and the local economy?

“One seat” ride service has been studied, and a report published by the Regional Plan Association shows how a “one seat” ride impacts the economic foot print of towns surrounding the train line.

Rail lines with “one seat” ride service into Manhattan are more desirable and encourage more redevelopment and development of residential housing units, retail stores and offices located near existing train stations.

The benefits include:

  • Increased residential housing values.
  • Increased property taxes collected by the town resulting in more revenue to provide services for town residents
  • Increased sales taxes collected since jobs in Manhattan pay an average of 60% more than the same jobs in New Jersey. Persons that work in Manhattan take home more money and spent that money locally resulting in more money spent in local businesses. This makes for more vibrant downtowns
  • Towns with one seat ride service have fewer store vacancies, have a more diverse and economically viable selection of restaurants, stores and offices in downtown because one seat ride service attracts more people to live and commute from the downtown.

Why haven’t we had a “one seat” ride before and what has changed?

Raritan Valley line is a rail line that can only operate diesel locomotives due to no electrification anywhere along the line. Diesel trains are not allowed to operate in the tunnels into Manhattan due to fire regulations prohibiting smoke and sparks from being produced in the tunnels.

After the ARC Tunnel project was cancelled, NJ Transit decided to purchase approximately three dozen dual-powered locomotives. When the train comes to a rail line that operates on electricity, a dual-powered locomotive switches over from diesel to electric power in 2 minutes or less. This allows dual-powered locomotives to operate on both electric and diesel lines.

With the arrival of the dual-powered locomotives, it is now possible to switch from diesel to electric operation en route to Midtown Manhattan, enabling lines such as the Raritan Valley to operate “one seat” service.

Why does the Raritan Valley Line need a “one seat” ride?

Commuters on the Raritan Valley Line currently have to change trains in Newark in order to get to Midtown Manhattan.

This transfer often requires passengers to change platforms, meaning that hundreds of people are hurrying, sometimes even running, down stairs and back up in order to continue their journey into Midtown. This is a very taxing experience that becomes even more stressful when there is uncertainty over which platform the continuing train will actually be on and whether or not the commuter will make the connection. In addition, the transfer adds fifteen minutes to travel time to Midtown.

What is a “one seat” ride?

The Raritan Valley line is the only NJ TRANSIT line connected by tracks to Midtown Manhattan whose passengers must transfer to a connecting electric line at Newark thus making it a “two seat” ride into NYC.

Four NJ TRANSIT rail lines have direct track connectivity to the Northeast Corridor and carry riders in “one seat” directly to NYC, hence the phrase “one seat” ride.