Riders Protest NJ Transit Plan for Long Term Suspension of Dinky Service

In response to a mid-September NJ Transit announcement of  plans to suspend Dinky service for at least three months, with replacement bus service, Save the Dinky Treasurer John Kilbride started a  change.org petition urging NJ Transit to reconsider.  See this  PP story.  Within days, almost 500 riders had signed.  Initially, NJ Transit led public officials to believe the shutdown was necessary to install positive train control technology (PTC) on the Princeton Branch.  However, as per this news story, the Dinky line has received an exemption from the PTC requirement–NJTransit is shutting down the line because it needs personnel and equipment to meet its federal deadline to install PTC on other parts of the system.  See coverage in this PP news story,

At the Princeton Council meeting on September 24, Save the Dinky Treasurer John Kilbride questioned whether a three-month shutdown was necessary, see  Town  Topics.  Kilbride told Council: “This community deserves an explanation. Many commuters in and out of Princeton who rely on the Dinky will be seriously inconvenienced.”  Kilbride  said a three-month hiatus could jeopardize the long-term viability of the line, and he urged local officials to ask New Jersey Transit to explain  why the service is being eliminated for three months. Kilbride also said officials should ask for assurances that the three-month stoppage is not a prelude to eliminating Dinky service altogether.

Save the Dinky Secretary Kip Cherry raised concerns about the impact on ridership:  In 2012, 605,783 people used the Dinky train. After the station was relocated and buses were replaced by the Dinky again, ridership was 538,187 passengers in 2015.  For 2017, ridership dropped to 481,867 passengers.

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