Maplewood South Orange Towns

Collum, DeLuca to NJ Transit: M&E Line Disruption ‘Totally Unfair’ to SOMA Riders

The Mayors of South Orange and Maplewood are deeply unhappy about Tuesday’s announcement by Gov. Chris Christie and New Jersey Transit that all Morris and Essex MidTown Direct train line service to Penn Station would be suspended this summer.

All trains will be diverted to Hoboken. The M&E line is the only one affected.

Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca and South Orange Village President Sheena Collum registered their objections in a strongly worded letter to the governor and NJT, which urged them to reconsider the decision — which they say was made without any consultation or even advance notice to town leaders.

Noting that the two towns have nearly 7,000 daily riders of NJ Transit, DeLuca and Collum said they understand the need to make essential track repairs to the aging system, but “this decision will disproportionately affect our residents who work in New York City.”

They continued: “Train riders from our various communities on the M&E line will have their personal and professional lives disrupted dramatically and the proposed fare discounts will not make up for the missed time with their families and the negative impacts on their business dealings. We feel it is totally unfair for M&E commuters to bear the full burden of this repair program.”

The two officials also lamented that they had not been consulted before the decision was made, in order to discuss potentially “more equitable” solutions.

“Instead, we were kept in the dark by an agency that is known for its terrible record of communication and transparency.”

DeLuca and Collum are asking to meet with NJT representatives, along with leaders of other towns affected by the disruption, “to discuss alternatives.”

See the entire letter here:

As Mayors of two towns on the Morris and Essex train line with nearly 7,000 daily riders at our three train stations for our residents and neighboring towns, we are registering our objection to the decision by Governor Christie and NJ Transit to divert all M&E Midtown Direct trains to Hoboken during the eight-week repair period at Penn Station. We completely understand that these repairs are necessary but feel this decision will disproportionately affect our residents who work in New York City.

Train riders from our various communities on the M&E line will have their personal and professional lives disrupted dramatically and the proposed fare discounts will not make up for the missed time with their families and the negative impacts on their business dealings. We feel it is totally unfair for M&E commuters to bear the full burden of this repair program.

Furthermore, this decision was made without any consultation with the elected leaders from the towns affected. We could have been given the opportunity to discuss options and a more equitable solution to the problem. Instead, we were kept in the dark by an agency that is known for its terrible record of communication and transparency.

On behalf of the Maplewood Township Committee and the South Orange Village Board of Trustees, we call upon the Governor and NJ Transit officials to reconsider this decision and would welcome a sit down with the appropriate staff and our colleagues from the M&E Midtown Direct communities to discuss alternatives.

Victor De Luca
Mayor
Township of Maplewood

Sheena Collum
Village President
Township of South Orange Village

cc: Senator Richard Codey Assemblyman John McKeon Assemblywoman Mila Jasey

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