It should go without saying that times are tough. Everyone is forced to do more with much less, and that includes government.
Two weeks ago, New Jersey Transit changed the route and timetable for the Hudson Bergen Light Rail. This is a decision that NJ Transit made in order to close a $300 million deficit. While we applaud the best efforts of NJ Transit to bring their fiscal house in order, we respectfully disagree with this change. This cut in service hurts the 33rd Legislative District and hurts Hoboken the hardest.
Since NJ Transit has announced that route and schedule changes would be occurring, our office has made inquiries asking them to be considerate of the residents of Hoboken. Since the changes took effect, our office has pleaded with NJ Transit to reconsider this route change.
We understand wholeheartedly that the State faces a fiscal crisis. Furthermore, we understand that NJ Transit faces a $300 million budget deficit. With that said, we understand that fiscal constraints have led to the decision to change certain routes as a part of closing the overall gap. This route is a heavily traveled route and serves as a conduit between several municipalities.
This inconvenient scheduling and routing change will only serve to hinder productivity and cause further congestion at peak traveling times. Furthermore, this discourages and limits people from visiting Hoboken restaurants and businesses.
Moreover, most residents of Hoboken are doing our environment a service by utilizing public transportation and avoiding driving their personal vehicles. This route change may discourage utilization of the HBLR and may cause an increase in traffic, decrease revenue, and further decrease ridership for NJ Transit.
We implore NJ Transit, in the strongest sense of the term, to reconsider this route change and restore the route to its original schedule. This is a “lose-lose” situation for the City of Hoboken, NJ Transit, and the State of New Jersey. By restoring the route, we are not only saving these residents from an inconvenience, but we are continuing our commitment to the environment, supporting local small businesses, as well as maintaining worker productivity in these harsh economic times.
We encourage everyone who’s affected by this route change to sign our petition today and let your voices be heard. Let’s work together to restore this route back to normal.
Ruben J. Ramos and Caridad Rodriguez
Assemblyman Ramos and Assemblywoman Rodriguez represent the 33rd Legislative District, which includes Union City, Hoboken, West New York, Weehawken, Guttenberg, and parts of Jersey City.