Buono Calls On Governor, Nj Transit To Rethink Proposed East Brunswick Bus Route Cuts That Have Commuters Worried

TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) today called on Governor Christie and New Jersey Transit to reconsider the proposed bus route eliminations that would severely limit options for East Brunswick commuters traveling to Manhattan and North Jersey and requested that a hearing be held in Middlesex County to allow concerned residents the opportunity to weigh in.

“NJ Transit has proposed the elimination of three bus routes throughout the entire state, all of which serve East Brunswick and are heavily utilized,” said Sen. Buono. “However the agency has not scheduled any public hearings in East Brunswick or anywhere in Middlesex County. Today, I reached out to the Governor and NJ Transit and asked that they not only reconsider the elimination of these lines, but at the very least schedule a hearing in the East Brunswick vicinity to allow residents a chance to voice their concerns and offer up solutions. I also reached out to NJ Transit today to request a meeting between Executive Director Jim Weinstein, myself and East Brunswick Mayor David Stahl to discuss other viable cost saving options.”

Sen. Buono’s office has been inundated with inquiries from concerned residents fearful that their long relied upon commuting options will soon be eliminated.

“One of my constituents said it best: ‘It is beyond my comprehension that the only three bus lines being discontinued in their entirety serve East Brunswick and the surrounding communities. We also know that these bus lines do not have ridership issues that would warrant their elimination. I should know because I take the bus everyday, and more often than not, there are always a number of riders who have to stand because there are no seats.’ All the commuters we heard from echo similar concerns,” added Sen. Buono.

A full copy of Sen. Buono’s letter is included below:

March 8, 2010

Hon. Chris Christie, Governor

State of New Jersey

PO Box 001

Trenton, NJ 08625

Mr. James Weinstein, Executive Director

NJ Transit

1 Penn Plaza East

Newark NJ 07105

Dear Governor Christie and Director Weinstein:

I write to you today with great concern over New Jersey Transit’s proposed cuts and route scale backs, which would disproportionately affect the large daily commuter population in East Brunswick. I recognize the unprecedented breadth and scope of the fiscal crisis that New Jersey is facing, however, I think the state should employ a more pragmatic approach to achieve cost savings, one that does not undermine the life blood of commuters in the Central Jersey region.

My office has been besieged by inquiries from a vast number of constituents in East Brunswick who rely heavily on NJ Transit buses that travel to Manhattan and North Jersey. At present, the three routes proposed for elimination all run through East Brunswick. These routes are heavily used and often filled well beyond capacity.

With this in mind, I strongly urge NJ Transit to look to other less utilized lines before eliminating any that affect such a large number of commuters. Ending service under these circumstances would be ill-advised and detrimental to workers in Central Jersey.

My constituents and I want to make sure that before any final decisions are made, an adequate assessment of commuter needs is conducted and input solicited from the East Brunswick community. Presently, none of NJ Transit’s public hearings on the proposed changes are scheduled to take place in East Brunswick or anywhere else in Middlesex County.

Therefore, I would like to request that a public hearing be held in Middlesex County to allow East Brunswick commuters the opportunity to offer their informed opinion on these proposals. Your attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Barbara Buono

Senate Majority Leader

cc: Hon. James Simpson, DOT Acting Commissioner & NJ Transit Board Chairman

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