SCHUMER SLAMS CANCELLATION OF EXPRESS TRAINS FOR ROCKLAND COMMUTERS; URGES NJT & METRO NORTH TO DEVELOP A PLAN TO HELP COMMUTERS HURT BY PASCACK VALLEY EXPRESS TRAIN CUTS
Schumer: Beleaguered Rockland County Commuters Deserve Immediate Alternative to Cancelled Express Trains
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today demanded New Jersey Transit (NJT) and Metro-North to work together to immediately launch a better plan to spare hard-pressed Rockland commuters from the impacts of the recently Pascack Valley Line's two-morning express trains, without further delaying the installation of life-saving technology called Positive Train Control (PTC).
“Rockland County commuters already have a hard slog and the cancellation of these two precious express trains made a bad situation that much worse. So that is why I am calling on NJT & Metro North to immediately develop a launch a better plan for commuters in Rockland County that will provide suitable alternatives to the recently cancelled trains,” said Senator Schumer.
Starting this week, New Jersey Transit is temporarily cancelling express trains 1618 and 1639 in addition to the regular operation of Friday-only outbound train 9653.
Schumer continued: “While the clock is ticking for NJT and Metro-North to fully install Positive Train Control, they must still better accommodate Rockland commuters. The bottom line is NJT and Metro-North must come up with a plan to accomplish both.”
Schumer has been a long time champion of the regions commuters and its transit systems, from advocating for a one-seat ride for west-of-Hudson commuters, to demanding New Jersey Transit improve communication with riders during and after emergencies, to securing $20 billion in transit and infrastructure aid via the bipartisan budget deal that Congress passed this past February. In addition, Schumer has championed the effort to require railroads to install PTC to help prevent fatal train crashes. Specifically, in 2015, Schumer helped to secure a low-cost, federal Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for $976.1 million to be used by the MTA and its railroads for PTC implementation. The FRA gives RRIF priority to projects that provide public benefits, including benefits to public safety such as PTC. The nearly $1 billion in RRIF financing enables the Metro-North to swiftly install and implement PTC by the 2018 deadline.
A copy of Schumer’s letter appears below:
Dear Mr. Corbett and Ms. Rinaldi:
I write to urge New Jersey Transit and Metro-North Railroad to work together with all due speed to mitigate the impacts of the recent Pascack Valley Line service disruptions by developing better alternative commute options for Rockland County residents.
I understand that New Jersey Transit has temporarily cancelled rush hour express trains 1618 and 1639 in addition to the regular operation of Friday-only outbound train 9653 in order to work on the installation of critical Positive Train Control (PTC) infrastructure. While installation and implementation by of PTC by the 2018 congressionally mandated deadline is of utmost concern and importance for the safety of commuters, given the paucity of speedy mass transit rail options for Rockland residents, I urge New Jersey Transit and Metro-North to find a solution that provides an alternative option for Rockland County commuters during the installation of PTC.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. Without these critical rush hour express trains, already beleaguered Rockland County commuters – who already have some of the most challenging commutes in the region – are left with few convenient alternatives to travel to work. Should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
Charles E. Schumer
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