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Student transit rates would help students, make roads safer for all

The railroads in New Jersey are a very effective system of transit and actually a much safer and faster mode of transport in all types of weather. I often travel the Pennsylvania Railroad, generally with grandchildren and friends, to recreational activities in Newark from the New Brunswick area. There will be a station in the future in North Brunswick, just south of the Adams Station area of years ago.

A year or so ago, I made a proposal to the NJ/NY Port of Authority to have real student rates for rides on the Pennsylvania Railroad. Presently, there is a restrictive system of advance applying for certain periods in limited transit to schools.

There is a program for senior citizens, for example, for less than $10 roundtrip to Penn Station in Newark from New Brunswick instead of the regular rate of just under $20. The fee to Newark/Liberty Airport, although before Penn Station from the New Brunswick area, is actually higher due to the rail fee for the monorail to the three terminals. The monorail to the airport is just a five-minute ride — very safe compared to riding the New Jersey Turnpike by car — and is a nice alternative to the dangerous ride on the Turnpike and the roads off exits 13A and 13B.

New Jersey does not offer any real, practical fee system for students. One may not know until a couple of days before an school event, or students may travel for work, recreation or other civic or charitable activities. Yet those students, from New Brunswick to Newark, for example, have to pay the full adult rate of almost $20 for a roundtrip whether in college, high school or younger in age.

This is a sad event in New Jersey where we are promoting a monorail for the airport or travel on railroads to events rather than cramming a family of six, or even six teenagers, on a risky trip by car which is even illegal in some instances related to age.

The roads are becoming a more dangerous place in New Jersey with all the development. Six students, even some on the younger side, would have to pay almost $120 to travel to a game in Newark via railroad. A car ride to the Prudential Center in Newark is $30 at times for safe parking, so with gas, tolls and parking, this is no bargain, but the car ride is about $70 less than using the railroad.

I think New Jersey ought to be more concerned about safety and also allow families to enjoy activities. The student rates would even generate additional income for the railroad.

Maybe we ought to vote on this issue — we were not given this option with the recent 23-cents-a-gallon gas hike. We live in an area of refineries so we should enjoy low gas prices, and we also have stations that pay personnel to pump gas, which is nice in New Jersey.

Make the roads safer with student rates on railroads that are not restrictive and allow a person to purchase such a reduced fare ticket at the station.

Bob Paley
North Brunswick

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