Day: trains are “hellish … unacceptable”
PEARL RIVER – “New Jersey Transit (NJT) has more than tested my patience,” Rockland County Executive Edwin Day said during a news conference held at the Pearl River Metro-North station on Wednesday.
NJ Transit operates Metro-North service on the west side of the Hudson River.
Day, joined by several state and local officials, lambasted the service for frequently canceling express trains from Rockland to New York City, failing to maintain the condition of their train cars, and constantly running late.
As of June, the Packsack Valley line has had more than 160 trains canceled or terminated and over 330 run more than 15 minutes late, according to a statement released by Day’s office. He denounced NJT’s previous decision to cancel three express trains offered by the Pascack Valley Line.
Day decried the severe gap in quality between the Pascack Valley line and the Hudson Line on the east side of the Hudson.
According to the executive’s office, Rockland residents pay just 20-cents a day less than their Westchester counterparts, yet the Tarrytown line has triple the service and a one-seat ride into Manhattan. Tarrytown riders also have access to 17 express trains to the city while Pascack commuters have only one.
The trains are “hellish (and) unacceptable,” Day said.
He said many train cars operating on the Pascack Valley Line do not have usable restrooms or air conditioning and are often severely overcrowded.
“People on the Rockland side of the bridge pay more to the MTA
for service and are still treated like the unwanted step children by NJ
Transit,” said state Senator David Carlucci. He also decried the
negative economic impact NJT is having on Rockland noting that property
values in a county often decline when mass transit becomes unreliable.
Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski accused the NJT of having “zero vision” when it comes to establishing a one-seat ride from Rockland to New York City and updating their current lines. The assemblyman vowed not to vote for any MTA funding “until we get answers” stating that “Rockland’s commuters have been shortchanged time and time again” and that “we will no longer accept the second rate service that is dealt to us.”
Day has requested a three-year fare freeze for Rockland County’s West of Hudson commuters from both NJT and MTA claiming “it is ridiculous that we are subject to fare increases from two different rail operators for the same rail line.”