Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca called into WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show this morning during a segment on the “Summer of Hell” commute that is looming for NJTransit train customers due to scheduled repairs on Penn Station tracks.
DeLuca’s call begins at 17:40 into the third segment for June 15, 2017. Listen here: https://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl
During the call, DeLuca first commends NJ Advance Media (NJ.com) reporter Larry Higgs’ summation of the situation then launches into his criticism of Gov. Christie and NJ Transit for their failure to include affected towns in both the decision making process and information rollout. “They had no conversations with us beforehand,” said DeLuca. Although the mayor detailed that he and other mayors on the Morris & Essex line were able to get NJT to restore four early morning weekday trains into Penn Station, he lamented the ongoing lack of “transparency on the part of transit.”
DeLuca also reported that local officials in Maplewood met this morning to plan for the new summer schedule — which will run July 10 through Labor Day. DeLuca said that Maplewood was “changing our jitney routes” to accommodate the four early morning trains and would also be ferrying people to express buses headed for the Port Authority Bus Terminal from neighboring South Orange.
DeLuca said that he was still working on getting NJT to provide express buses from Maplewood. He was also pressing NJT to on “getting information to people [so they can] make an informed decision.”
The mayor also suggested that Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo write a joint letter to New York City employers encouraging them to allow NJ workers to work remotely during the repairs.
Earlier in the segment, Higgs had noted that “the pain is concentrated on one line” — Morris & Essex — regarding the re-routing of trains. Higgs said that the choice to target M&E was probably “organic” as the line is really a conglomeration of lines and systems that didn’t originally connect to Penn Station but rather to Hoboken. Not until 1996 did the MidTown Direct connection finally provide M&E.riders with access to Penn Station.
Higgs also recounted DeLuca and South Orange Village President Sheena Collum’s frustration with NJ Transit which rescheduled two meetings about the summer train diversion plans.