At its November meeting, the Lackawanna Coalition passed a resolution calling on NJ Transit to start running hourly service between Montclair and Hoboken on Saturdays and Sundays, no later than the beginning of the next fiscal year this coming July 1.
The principal “Resolved” clause says: “the Lackawanna Coalition calls for New Jersey Transit to implement hourly weekend passenger-rail service between Hoboken and Montclair State University stations, scheduled for connections with Morris & Essex Line trains at Broad Street Station in Newark, as the trains that run on the current schedule are scheduled for such connections. . .”
The last time Montclair trains ran every hour on weekends was in 1959, under the historic Lackawanna Railroad. Limited Saturday service ran until 1966, but there were no weekend trains again until 2010. At that time, service was restored every 2 hours, with some 3-hour gaps in the evening. Under the current schedule, trains between Bay Street Station and Hoboken connect with M&E trains between New York Penn Station and Dover for a cross-platform connection at Broad Street Station in Newark. There is no weekend service between Bay Street (at the east end of Montclair) and Montclair State, or beyond there to Denville; the latter segment is served only during weekday “commuter hours”.
In its resolution, the Coalition noted that trains run hourly on weekends on most NJT lines, and complained that “[t]he present level of weekend service on the Montclair-Boonton Line falls below the standard of service for most other lines in the system, thereby depriving residents of the area served by that line of as-frequent access to other places served by New Jersey Transit as is accorded on other such lines.” At the present time, ridership is closer to pre-COVID levels on weekends than on weekdays.
The Coalition also called on NJ Transit to implement service west of Montclair State, to Denville and Dover on weekdays, at times other than peak-commuting hours, and on weekends. We are aware of the Farmers’ Market at the Walnut Street station on Saturdays, but there are many weekend hours at which train service for those farther west could be accommodated, and certainly off-peak weekday service has no such conflict.