It is our mission to serve YOU, as riders on New Jersey Transit's trains and connecting transit.  We continue to pursue this mission, and we made progress last year.
 
We celebrated our 35th anniversary of service to you in April.  The following month, New Jersey Transit Executive Director Veronique "Ronnie" Hakim presented us with a citation from the Board of Directors, Executive Director and employees of NJT, in recognition of our 35 years of advocacy for better transit.  This is a singular honor, and I know of no precedent of a rider-advocacy organization being honored by a transit authority in that manner.  Perhaps because of this honor, we are engaging in conversations with NJT managers more today than we have for the past twelve years.
 
We have made a difference to one of our communities, too.  Mount Tabor in Morris County is a historic community where only a few trains on the Morris & Essex Line stop; most of them pass through without stopping.  We are advocating on behalf of that community for better service, and New Jersey Transit has added four weekday trains to Mount Tabor's schedule recently.  That constitutes an improvement in mobility for the Mount Tabor community.  We will continue this effort until Mount Tabor has full service.  With your help, we can improve mobility for you and your community, too.
Our governing officers and committee chairs are thoroughly familiar with our rail lines, come from diverse locations in the area, and bring their expertise in planning, engineering, business and law to our efforts to improve your transit.  During the 15 years I have served as Chair, I have seen our organization grow from the brink of dissolution to becoming the recipient of a singular honor from New Jersey Transit.  Our Vice-Chair, John Bobsin, keeps us informed on this web site and is pursuing some ground-breaking research.  Donald Winship, our Communications Director and Webmaster, is also pursuing data-based research, while moving our outreach efforts toward social media.  Gary Kazin, our Secretary, continues to keep our records and Jesse Gribin, our Treasurer, is watching our finances.  
 
We have made two changes in our lineup this year.  Joseph M. Clift, former Director of Planning for the Long Island Rail Road, has moved from Technical Director to Legislative Director.  We will be stepping up our efforts in Trenton and Washington, because we understand that many of the policies that affect us as transit riders are directed from beyond New Jersey Transit's authority.  Our new Technical Director is Stephen E. Thorpe, who has had a lifelong interest in rail operations and served as Chair of the Union County Transportation Advisory Board.
 
We are continuing our efforts to improve rail service into New York City.  We have called for two new tunnels under the Hudson River and into Penn Station, with the first of these to be built as soon as possible.  We have identified potential funding sources, and we need your support to convince the policy-makers that this is a vital project for our primary lines of concern, as well as other NJT rail lines.  We are advocating for more service on the Morris & Essex, Montclair-Boonton and Gladstone Lines, our primary lines of concern.  We are also pushing for schedules that will improve connectivity with other NJT rail lines, as well as other transit.  We know that many of our riders also use other NJT trains, NJT light rail and buses, as well as PATH and the New York subways.  We care about your entire journey, and we want you to get to your destination as quickly, frequently, and comfortably as possible.
 
We are also forging new links with the county-sponsored systems that provide special transportation to seniors and persons with disabilities.  Steve Thorpe, our Technical Director, has been elected Chair of NJT's Senior Citizens and Disabled Residents Transportation Advisory Committee (SCDRTAC), and this writer has been elected First Vice-Chair of that committee.  As our "baby boom" age cohort heads toward seniorhood or arrives there, "community transit" will join scheduled transit as an increasingly-important part of the mobility network that we will all need.
 
We have an ambitions plan to push for better rail service and other transit for you and your community, but we can't implement it without your help.  All of our funding comes form member dues and donations.  We keep our expenses as low as possible, and we thank Millburn township for its continuing support throughout our history.  Still, we want to do more, and we need more members to accomplish our goals.  We invite you to join us.  Dues are only $15.00 for the year for an individual (town and county dues are higher).  
 
Our goal is to have every community on the Morris & Essex, Montclair-Boonton and Gladstone Lines represented in our organization.  If you live or work along one of those lines, we would especially welcome your participation.  If you do not, you are still welcome to join us and participate in our activities.  We have members who live along most of the rail lines in the state, as well as New York City, the primary destination for our riders.  We also have members from other parts of the country who have joined the Coalition to demonstrate their support for our organization and our advocacy for better transit.
 
If you are involved with civic affairs in your community, we would like to have you as a member.  We are stepping up our community outreach, and we need your help.  If you practice law, we need your help to rebuild our Legal Committee.  If you are interested in our railroads or in transit generally, we welcome you.  Don't worry if you are not an expert in rail operations or in transit policy.  We will teach you what you need to know.
 
So please join us and help make 2015 the best year ever for the Coalition.  We just had a great year, and you can help us to keep the momentum going.
 
DAVID PETER ALAN
Chair