When New Jersey Transit eliminated the last trains on weeknights (including Friday night) on several runs last September, the Lackawanna Coalition swung into action. We persuaded NJT to restore some of the time lost to riders leaving New York and Hoboken on the last trains to Dover and Gladstone. These improvements came last November, eight weeks after the service cuts were suddenly imposed on our riders.

Inbound riders from Dover suffered, too. The last train from Dover was set back to a 10:32 p.m. departure, from 11:37 (historically, the last train left Dover at 12:30). It was restored to 11:30 in November, but the new schedule called for that train to run non-stop from Summit to Newark. All passengers going anywhere else in Essex County were required to get off at Summit and wait for more than 30 minutes to catch the train that would take them home.

We continued to advocate vigorously for a solution that would allow our riders to get home without wasting so much of their precious time. We pushed for NJT to allow stops “on request” on that particular train only, to let passengers off at their home stations; a practice implemented by Metra in Chicago. NJT rejected this approach, but implemented a positive change in the current schedule, which started on May 16.

Train #684, which leaves Dover at 11:30 for Hoboken, now makes five Essex County stops that it did not make before: Millburn, Maplewood, South Orange, Orange and Brick Church. This improvement does not benefit all of our riders in the affected area, but it will help many of them; perhaps most of them. We see this as a victory for the Coalition and for our Essex County riders, and we commend NJT management for listening to us and making this beneficial schedule adjustment.