Story and Photos by Kathy Kahn
As if Rockland doesn’t have its fair share of problems, one it doesn’t need is the faux pas NJ Transit imposed on its Rockland riders when it gave a 10 percent discount to its ridership in New Jersey but did not extend it to the other side of the NJ border—that’s us, dear readers.
Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann and Councilman Donald Franchino, along with Orangetown Supervisor Chris Day, unveiled a rendering of the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) prepared for Nanuet’s train station, a plan that was under discussion for several years. All decried the treatment the county has gotten from the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and NJ Transit.
A new wrinkle to irk Rockland’s politicians who have long sought to make the best use of their transit system—NJ Transit, which owns the station in Nanuet, has refused to give Rocklanders the same 10 percent fare break while it works on its tracks in New Jersey.
“We’re dealing with sub-standard service,” Orangetown Supervisor Chris Day said. “This was a joint decision by the MTA and NJ Transit. We have the same problem in Pearl River. Some of our residents are driving to New Jersey just to get the discount.”
Pearl River is also working on a TOD to attract people to living in “walkable” areas, which are highly desired by commuters and age groups from Millennials to Baby Boomers. All towns in Rockland that are linked by the MTA and NJ Transit are planning TODs around their train stations, but not getting the help they need from the two transit systems who are draining coffers west of the Hudson, but giving little in return.
Hoehmann called the 10 percent discount New Jersey riders are receiving “a slap in the face to everyone in Rockland.”
“We want a real train station and have re-zoned this entire area to make it a TOD,” he said. “We are calling on the MTA and NJT to give us the upgrades we need.”
According to Metro North, a division of the MTA, the three-month discount starting November 1 (running until the end of January, 2019) is for New Jersey riders who have had to deal with cancellations due to work being done on the NJ line that must be completed by a federal deadline of December 31. Along with the upgrades, no doubt a raise in fares will soon follow.
For MTA and NJ Transit riders who agree they’re tired of being a monkey’s uncle, contact the MTA through its website, mta.info. A complaint can also be filed against New Jersey on its website, NJTransit.com.