NJ Transit officials remain adamant about closing down the only train that gets residents in this part of southern New Jersey to work in Philadelphia on time. You have to wonder what they are thinking — or if they are.
I talked to state Sen. James Whelan, the latest local official to ask NJ Transit to change its mind. He said the agency does indeed have ridership figures for the train run — figures they did not give The Press when we repeatedly asked — and that those ridership numbers (surprise!) are higher than the numbers on certain other runs.
But NJ Transit officials maintain they will save the most money by eliminating the 5:49 a.m. train to Philadelphia for reasons other than ridership — work shifts and equipment and who-knows-what.
Frankly, the work shift they should be most interested in is the public’s — the one that dictates that most people who work in Philly start around 8 or 9 a.m.
NJ Transit also says it doesn’t want to have a gap of more than two hours between trains by eliminating one of those middle-of-the-night runs.
But why not, if few people use it? So let a few people be incovenienced at 3 a.m. rather than 100 or 200 commuters who need it to get to their jobs every day.
Even if it’s true that eliminating this train saves more money than eliminating other runs, NJ Transit is a public agency that is supposed to serve the public. Nothing is more of a public service for a transit agency than getting commuters to their jobs.
“Is this any way to run a railroad?” Whelan said.
I think we know the answer.