So lately Cranford and the other towns on the Raritan Valley Line have been getting teased with “one seat” service to NY Penn Station.  We have been teased a long time with it. Does anyone besides me remember Governor Corzine at the town hall at UCC dangling this before us (along with the entrance to 78 West from the Garden) if we went along with his dopey toll-hike plan?

A long time. Now the teasing is heating up again.

“Not until next spring.”

“Only off-peak.”

And some argue that we can’t get a one-seat ride since alllll of the slots are taken at Penn Station by other, happier commuters who don’t just start to lull into a nap only to be evicted in Newark.

Which is total bs.

As I’ve said before, calling NJ Transit a third-world railway is an insult to third-world railways. While they have improved some of their rolling stock (only to park most of it in the Meadowlands during Sandy), there are still miles and miles to go in improving their meh-at-best service, rare station maintenance, incomprehensible (and I allege sadistic) scheduling, and in controlling wage and overtime costs that are egregious for the purpose of padding pensions.

Granted, NY Penn and the tunnels feeding it are a mess. And the blitheringly incompetent management of trains in and out would probably struggle even more with slightly higher volume. But as the Raritan Valley is 10 percent of the traffic, they should, in theory, deserve some of the openings. Would it kill NJTransit to have a couple NJ Coast and Northeast Corridor trains terminate in Newark? Every Raritan Valley Rider who has ever stood on a platform when a Northeast Corridor train pulls in knows of the massive turnover in passengers at Newark. It could work.

And to those who wonder why we would value the “one seat” ride..”it’s just going up and down some steps…what’s the big deal?”

Here’s the big deal.

Ask a Raritan Valley Line commuter how many times in the last month did the connecting train from NY pull in a few seconds too late that resulted in a sprint to the pretty-closed up and inaccessible Track 5 just in time to see the tail-lights of the train as it leaves Newark. And then a long, often stiflingly hot or cold, raw wait for the next train. In a 20 day commuting month, it can be a week’s worth.

So what can we do?

Complain. Yell. Scream.

A bunch of low-level politicians started up a “grass-roots” organization (which is sort of a contradiction, isn’t it?) The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition. If you give them money they will print things and send them to people who may decide to let us poor Raritan Valley riders in from the cold to a nice warm single seat.

Maybe the securely re-elected Governor may want to take a look at it. He did surprisingly, win Union County.