New Jersey Transit will restore the Atlantic City Rail Line and the Princeton shuttle on May 24, New Jersey Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said at a Wednesday night meeting.
“The decision to temporarily suspend service on these lines was not made lightly,” Corbett said. “We know that one of the primary sources of frustration that our customers had was the uncertainty of when these lines would be operating again.”
The lines were discontinued to install positive train control, a series of sensors and computers that stops trains in case an operator fails to stop it. After a series of crashes, Congress mandated all rail agencies install positive train control.
“You have been an agency that was not properly staffed,” Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-37th District, said. “Following a fatal Hoboken train crash, I served on a committee that investigated it. … [Beyond that crash] We found a long history of racial and sexual discrimination. We found millions of dollars paid out. … My colleagues and I have serious concerns about where New Jersey Transit is going and whether it has the funding to return to preeminence as one of the nation’s top agencies.”
Meanwhile, during public portion, rider advocacy organization Lackawanna Coalition Chairman David Peter Alan spoke on behalf of senior citizens and people who have disabilities. Alan is a lawyer and relies on trains to travel. He objects to the miniscule increase in the New Jersey Transit budget.
“The past policy of cutting mobility to save money creates a tremendous disservice to the people who need mobility the most,” Alan said. “You are sitting on a time bomb. The populations of seniors and persons with disabilities are increasing, and so are the number of persons who depend on transit for any other reason, too.”
Weinberg addressed the board on behalf of paying commuters. New Jersey Transit has been forced to cancel trains because engineers have called out sick without notice and because it does not employ enough engineers.
“Is it true that New Jersey Transit union contracts are increasing by $50 million?” Weinberg asked. “We are willing to work with Gov. Murphy and you to get adequate funding. … With $460 million in the transportation trust fund, will we have money to build the Hudson Bergen Light Rail?”
Weinberg is concerned about empty buses that are riding behind overly crowded buses. She asked New Jersey Transit to improve efficiency through fair collections.
This story has been updated to correct the attribution of a quote from New Jersey Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett to Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg.