After years of delays, the new Wesmont New Jersey Transit train station in Wood-Ridge has opened.
The station, which was supposed to be completed in 2011, opened Sunday. Commuters will pay $5.75 to ride into New York on the NJ Transit Bergen line.
"I have to come into the city all the time, and usually I just take the bus but this will be much shorter, especially in the mornings," said resident Lynn Mendelsohn.
The Wesmont station was built as part of NJ Transit's first-ever public-private partnership, with NJ Transit paying $6 million for the new station, and Somerset Development adding the other $12 million.
Somerset is developing the former Curtiss-Wright engine factory into a 78-acre mixed-use residential-retail complex, and Wesmont has the potential to add to Wood-Ridge's reputation as a commuter-friendly town. Hundreds of people have already moved in, attracted by the promise of an easy commute, officials say.
NJ Transit predicts that 800 riders a day will eventually take the train from the station, but not more than four people were seen waiting at one time there all day Monday. Station workers estimated just 75 people took the train to work Monday morning.
Part of the issue is the station's location. It's not visible from Pascack Avenue and commuters have to drive almost three-quarters of a mile to get to the parking lot. From there, they have to walk another 215 yards to reach the station.
But town officials are optimistic. They estimate home values have already risen 15 to 20 percent from Wood-Ridge -- a town of just 8,400 -- now having two New Jersey Transit stations on both the Bergen and Pascack Valley lines.
"It's all about Manhattan, it's about millenials who want to use mass transit," said Democratic state senator Paul Sarlo, who represents the Bergen district.
Now that trains are running, NJ Transit officials just have to finish construction of the parking lot, which only has 28 spots at the moment. It will soon add another 100 spaces.