SCDRTAC Commemorates Its Fortieth Anniversary

The Senior Citizens and Disabled Residents Transportation Advisory Committee (SCDRTAC) at NJ Transit commemorated its fortieth anniversary at its scheduled meeting on Monday, Jan. 22. All Committee members are seniors, some with disabilities, or younger persons with disabilities. They come from North, Central, and South Jersey, and they represent a number of different disabilities, as well as a breadth of life experience. Some also have national or regional reputations in different fields. What they have in common is a desire to improve mobility for seniors and persons with disabilities, many of whom depend on NJ Transit’s buses, trains, light rail, and affiliated carries for all of their mobility in New Jersey. Affiliated carriers include county transportation providers and Access Link, NJ Transit’s paratransit operation for persons who require special transportation because of their disability. The Committee deals with a broad range of transportation issues that affect its constituents, including NJ Transit’s train, bus, and light rail services; funding; connectivity; accessibility; accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), county-sponsored services and grants; and Access Link.

Many members, former members, and managers from a range of departments at NJ Transit were present for the event, which took place in a conference room decorated for the occasion. NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett addressed the meeting and said that the committee should look toward “not just the statutory requirements, but the spirit of the law”. SCDRTAC was established under the Senior Citizens and Disabled Residents Transportation Assistance Act of 1983, which also established a grant program to support county-sponsored transportation for seniors and persons with disabilities, and the Casino

Revenue Fund to help pay for it. Paul Wyckoff, the agency’s Chief for Government and External Affairs, also addressed the meeting and praised the Committee for its varied efforts through the years. Janelle Rivera, Director of Local Programs Support and Jack Dean, Senior Program Director, Research & Community Services, thanked the Committee for its efforts, too, and extended thanks to other NJ Transit employees. There are strong ties between the Lackawanna Coalition and SCDRTAC. Coalition Chair Sally Jane Gellert is SCDRTAC’s First Vice- Chair. Jim Blaze, a transportation economist from South Jersey, is Second Vice-Chair and also a Coalition member, as are two other people who belong to both.

Over the past year, SCDRTAC has been reporting regularly at NJ Transit Board meetings, and the Committee has started a new Administrative Subcommittee to free up limited time at the full group’s monthly meetings, and a County Services Subcommittee to increase its effectiveness when advising county transportation providers. The Committee also expects to improve its outreach to seniors and persons with disabilities. The occasion was festive, but issues concerning the Committee’s constituents remain to be addressed, and possibly always will. SCDRTAC members are looking forward to the Committee’s second 40 years of service to its constituents, who are New Jersey’s most-vulnerable riders. David Peter Alan is SCDRTAC Chair for the 2023-24 term. He joined the Committee in 2003

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