The New Jersey Department of Transportation and NJ Transit will hold a community forum at the Dinky train station on Tuesday, Feb. 19, to discuss the service restoration timeline and address other commuter concerns and issues. The meeting is one of several public meetings being held at NJ Transit rail stations across the state.
Residents and commuters can attend the public forum at the Dinky station at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“The public deserves answers and better communications on progress to restoration of an acceptable level of service,” New Jersey Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee Chairman Daniel Benson (D-Mercer and Middlesex) said. “As a request of our committee, we hope the commissioner and NJ Transit use these opportunities to not only truly listen to riders experience but use them to inform their action to resolve the continuing problems facing this agency.”
More than 830 residents have signed a petition calling on NJ Transit to restore Dinky train service as soon as possible. Service was originally supposed to be restored in January. But then the head of NJ Transit announced last month that Dinky train equipment and staff are needed elsewhere in the NJ Transit train system, and that service will not be restored until an some time in the second quarter of the year.
Supporters of the Princeton train service fear that the train shutdown will weaken long-term ridership and lead to the demise of the Dinky.
“Realizing that many Dinky commuters are temporarily using a wide variety of alternative transportation modes instead of the substitute bus, the hope is that commuters and students will make an extra effort to join the commissioner at the Dinky station to reiterate how important it is to resume Dinky service as soon as possible,” said resident Kip Cherry, a member of the citizen group Save the Dinky.
NJ Transit announced two weeks ago that beginning March 1, Dinky riders will receive a 25 percent discount on the Princeton to Princeton Junction trip on the substitute buses. But regular commuters scoffed at the announcement, saying the bus drivers never actually collect the train tickets for the replacement bus service — meaning commuters who don’t buy or use their tickets are already riding the buses for free.