NJ Transit’s One-Seat Ride on the Raritan Valley Line (RVL), which started during off-peak weekday hours in March of this year, is looking to expand its service to the evening hours starting in November, according to testimony provided by NJ Transit Executive Director Veronique ‘Ronnie’ Hakim.
NJ Transit Media spokesman William Smith stated, “Yesterday, our executive director Hakim testified for the Assembly Budget Committee and was asked by Assemblyman [NJ State Assemblyman Joseph] Cryan if there were any plans to expand the service. She announced that we anticipate, most likely in November, adding weekday evening off-peak service. The details of that still have to be worked out but that’s what we’re looking at, at this point.”
This means that passengers will be able to have a One-Seat Ride into New York City after 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Currently, commuters who ride between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. can have a One-Seat Ride between the borough and New York Penn Station.
The One-Seat Ride allows for passengers from Roselle Park to ride all the way into New York City without having to switch trains. Up until March of this year, passengers on the RVL wishing to travel to Manhattan by train would have to get off at Newark Penn Station and switch to another NJ Transit train or a PATH train. This was due to the fact that the RVL used diesel engines which are not allowed in the Hudson River tunnels. NJ Transit purchased 36 dual-use hybrid locomotives which can change between diesel and electric power at Newark Penn Station to accommodate a One-Seat Ride. The changeover usually takes about 60-90 seconds.
The next step, according to Raritan Valley Rail Coalition (RVRL) Chair Peter Palmer – who is also a Somerset County Freeholder, is to have One-Seat Ride during the weekend. The end end-all objective is to have NJ Transit have a one-seat ride for all trains, including peak hours. Currently, lack of train tunnel access is a major obstacle to having full-time one-seat rides.