NJ Transit will beef up service on the Atlantic City Rail Line for the air show later this month, according to an agency spokesperson.

The decision followed a conference call Thursday brokered by State Senator Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, between the agency, elected officials and South Jersey business stakeholders

That call was a follow-up to a June meeting between South Jersey representatives and NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett. After the meeting, participants said they planned to provide the agency with short-term, mid-term and long-term goals to improve the Atlantic City Rail Line, a line riders and officials have said often gets short shrift from the state.

"NJ Transit is pleased to continue collaborating with local elected officials and the business community to explore options to enhance the Atlantic City Rail Line," said spokesman Nathan Rudy. 

Extra service for special events, like the Atlantic City Air Show, was one of the short-term goals. No details of the extra service were released.

According to Brown, the short-term goals discussed — to be implemented within a year, if NJ Transit signs on — include opening clear lines of communication in the run-up to large events in the resort should they require increased service on the line, marketing the line as a way to get to events in Philadelphia and down the shore, surveying workers from large Atlantic City employers to adjust arrival and departure times to their needs, and reducing travel time, cancellations and delays.

Since the line's reopening in May, after a protracted shutdown for the installation of federally mandated safety mechanisms, cancellations and delays have plagued commuters, reinvigorating longtime complaints that the agency undervalues its South Jersey line.

Brown, who has pushed for change on the ACRL, was pleased with the outcome.

“I am pleased by working in a bi-partisan manner with President/CEO Corbett and local stakeholders to achieve better rail service for Atlantic County working families and businesses, we have secured additional train service for the Atlantic City Air Show as a first step in helping the Atlantic City Rail Line reach its fullest potential," Brown said.

Representatives from the agency Thursday afternoon spoke with Brown, Mayor Frank Gilliam, CRDA Executive Director Matt Doherty and Chair of the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders Amy Gatto, among others.

Future conference calls will address the local officials' and stakeholders' mid- and long-term goals for the line, Brown said.

Among the mid-term goals, which stakeholders believe could be tackled within one to three years, are establishing shuttles from the stations in Atlantic City, Absecon and Egg Harbor City to the Atlantic City International Airport, identifying funding opportunities to build a Pomona train station, looking into discount ticket programs for casino employees or reduced fare for Stockton students, and encouraging the development of transit villages around existing stations.

A "transit village" status gives a town access to more state funding for streetscaping and other improvements to promote construction of higher-density housing and commercial space.

The long-term goals discussed, which stakeholders believe could be tackled within three to five years, include having hourly runs on the line, express trains to Philadelphia and Lindenwold, constructing double tracking where possible, and developing a way to quickly connect North Jersey and New York City to the ACRL, using as a blueprint the former "Blue Comet" right-of-way between Lakehurst and Winslow Junction and the former Atlantic City Express Service between New York City and the resort.

Rev. Janet Hewes Gasbarro, of Absecon, who was nominated for the NJ Transit board in March, participated in Thursday's call, and said it was productive.

"I think it was a good conversation ... It was a good follow-up to our meeting," said Gasbarro. "I think they're sincerely working with us to make this improve and make it accessible. That's the feeling that I'm getting."

Staff Writer Michelle Brunetti-Post contributed to this report.

What to know for the Atlantic City Airshow 

​Contact: 609-272-7260

cshaw@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPressColtShaw

Staff Writer

I cover breaking news on the digital desk. I graduated from Temple University in Dec. 2017 and joined the Press in the fall of 2018. Previously, I freelanced, covering Pennsylvania state politics and criminal justice reform.

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