Just when commuters who depend on New Jersey Transit thought things couldn’t get any worse, the agency announced today that for at least three months, some train lines will have reduced service and others will be eliminated altogether, including the beloved Dinky train line in Princeton.
Beginning in the mid October, the Dinky will be replaced by buses. Service will not be restored until at least mid January.
The elimination of Dinky service for at least three months is another setback for local train advocates who worry that Dinky ridership will continue to decline. Ridership declined after the train station was shut down in August of 2013 and replaced by shuttles.
“This is unfortunate. Ridership has declined on the Dinky line since the line was truncated,” said John Kilbride of the citizen group Save the Dinky. “Ridership will inevitably decline more with a three month hiatus in a high ridership season.”
New Jersey Transit says the reduction in service is necessary in order to install positive train control equipment on trains and meet federal deadlines.
“We thoughtfully reviewed all trains that are part of this adjustment and found the most reasonable alternatives,” New Jersey Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said in the announcement about the changes.
New Jersey Transit has been struggling for months to maintain its already reduced commuter train service. Trains are frequently canceled with little notice because of staffing issues. Many commuters feel they can no longer depend on New Jersey Transit trains to get them to work on time. An audit of the agency that was ordered by the governor back in January has not been completed yet.
To soften the blow regarding the reduced train service, New Jersey Transit is offering customers a 10 percent discount on all rail tickets and passes for November, December and January while the hardware installation is completed.
Beginning Sunday, October 14th, the following Northeast Corridor trains will be discontinued:
Train 3832, the 10:42 a.m. arrival at Penn Station in New York from Trenton
Train 3703, the 6:04 a.m. departure from Penn Station in New York to New Brunswick
Train 3857, the 3:42 p.m. departure from Penn Station in New York to Trenton
All Princeton Dinky rail service will be replaced by buses on weekdays and weekends.