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Princeton Council Meeting will address Dinky situation


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#1 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 03:41 PM

The Princeton Council has invited Tom Clarke from NJT to address the council at its meeting this Monday, October 8, at 7:00 p.m.

 

The address of the meeting is 400 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ.

 

The agenda also lists a resolution to protest the suspension of the Dinky.

 

I'd like to go but can't (I'll be in CT) but am passing this on if anyone in the area is interested.



#2 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted Today, 10:02 AM

I was away and was at Princeton Junction for the first time in over a week yesterday, so just caught up with this.

 

In spite of sensible points made at the meeting, and what sounds like a very polite crowd (the full report is in the Town Topics local newspaper for October 10, but I can't get the link to post, and it might be longer than a fair use quote anyway), NJT has suspended the Dinky. Of course they have--they planned to all along. They are giving a 10 percent reduction in NJT fares, which is not what Dinky riders need--they need the train into Princeton!

 

They said they needed the extra cars and crew for other places while they work on PTC. Two ancient cars and one conductor and one engineer. Two of the nicest guys I've met who work for NJT. (Ok, a few more than that for different shifts--but not enough to save NJT from itself.) And now they have to bid again for the Dinky, which is apparently one of the most popular routes to work, when it resumes, and will have stiff competition.

 

There is a bus--I saw it this morning, and it's okay. Not provided by NJT, of course--it's a Tiger Transit or something like that provided either by the town or the university. One person boarded it. As opposed to a crowd boarding the Dinky during the same time period.

 

My older commuter friends who regularly take the Dinky were nowhere in sight. Either they are getting rides, or working from home, or saying "I love my job, but I'm retiring because of NJT messing up my commute." They are not taking the bus. Some of them commute from Philly. Two trains and an hour and a half later, and they are supposed to wait out in the cold (and eventually probably snow and ice) for a bus?

 

Usually, I make jokes about NJT and just roll my eyes when they do the next ridiculous thing. But this time I am absolutely furious :angry2:. What they've done is mean-spirited and just plain nasty, with no need to have done it at all. :(


Edited by Mystic River Dragon, Today, 10:14 AM.

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#3 cpotisch

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Posted Today, 10:28 AM

Well that's a real shame. At least it's "only" for three months. The NY Subway L train is being suspended for at least 15 months, starting in April. :wacko:


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#4 jis

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Posted Today, 11:38 AM

NJTransit currently has no plans for acquiring any equipment as replacement for the Arrow IIIs that can be used on the Princeton Branch.

 

They plan to acquire multi-level power cars for use in conjunction with the multi-level trailers to replace the Arrow IIIs. Minimum unit length in this setup will be three (multi-level) cars. Multi-level cars are too heavy for the Princeton Branch.

 

This suggests that their implicit plan is to discontinue rail service on the Princeton Branch and replace them with buses in the long term..


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#5 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted Today, 11:54 AM

That is very interesting news, jis.

 

NJT would essentially be discontinuing service for some of their best, steadiest, and (in some cases) richest riders. And what a good reason: no equipment left that will work!

 

I don't think the university as an entity cares all that much (after all, they got the line shortened a bit in Princeton just to put up an arts center, which could have been plopped anywhere). But some of the parents with kids there do.

 

The people in the town do, as well, especially wealthy commuters and wealthy people who have children who commute.

 

If they go through with this, and NJT stops the Dinky completely, do you think it's possible that a private group could come along and run their own train on it? This is one of the richest and most transit-oriented places in NJ--could that work? Who owns the tracks? Amtrak? That would be the main hurdle, I think. But the money is most certainly there.


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