NJ Transit's Board of Directors is scheduled to propose changes to fares and service lines March 25 through 27 at public hearings and information sessions statewide.
In his State of the State Address, Gov. Chris Christie announced he would withhold $30 million from NJ Transit as part of balancing New Jersey's budget for beyond June 30. NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein announced on the corporation's official Web site that it is facing a projected operating budget deficit of about $300 million for fiscal year 2011.
Weinstein stated that Christie and the Board of Directors directed him to take action over the coming months for a solution.
" The action we are taking to begin closing this gap is difficult, given a 4 percent decrease in ridership last year, $150 million in stimulus and other one-time federal transportation funding that is not available this year, and increased operating costs for fuel, parts and contractual increases," Weinstein said in the statement.
He said NJ Transit will also be implementing a hiring freeze, layoffs of 200 people, a 5 percent payroll reduction among agency executives and cutting 30 percent of the company's contributions to its employees' 401(K) plan.
NJ Transit is calling for an average 25 percent increase of bus, light and commuter rail fares system-wide.
The base Northern New Jersey bus fare within the state - like on the No. 5 Kinney route between Newark Penn Station and the East Orange border or the No. 97 East Orange-Montclair route – will go from $1.35 to $1.70. One zone intrastate monthly bus pass will now cost $61 instead of $49.
Two-zone travel, like on the No. 41 Park Avenue Newark Penn - Orange station route or No. 21 Newark-West Orange, will go from $2.15 to $2.70. Two zone monthly passes are to rise from $65 to $82.
Traveling three zones - like on the No. 25 Newark-Maplewood or No. 13 Newark-Clifton - is to rise from $2.65 to $3.30 and monthly passes from $77 to $96. Four zones rides, like the No. 70 Newark-Livingston Mall or No. 94 Bloomfield into Linden, will go from $3.40 to $4 and monthly passes will rise from $84 to $105.
According to NJ Transit's Web site, off-peak round trip discounts will be eliminated. In addition,
discount bus fare for children, senior citizens and handicapped riders will also rise.
The public transportation service has not yet announced if other fare options - like 10 trip and weekly rail passes, bus feeder fare stickers on equivalent weekly and monthly rail passes and the Newark Light Rail Downtown Fare - will continue.
However, the Hoboken Light Rail 10-trip ticket discount will be eliminated.
Prices for two-zone interstate bus ride into New York City and monthly passes will also rise. For example, Newark residents who take the Nos. 64, 107 or 108 into New York City are taking a four-zone ride - which means that the one-way fare goes from $4.40 to $5.50 and monthly passes from $122 to $153.
The three light rail lines will lose four percent of its runs and the Newark, Hoboken Light Rail and River Line weekday runs will lose 86 of its 1,144 trips and 138 of its 560 weekend or holiday trips.
On average, Newark Light Rail riders will also be waiting longer for their trains.
Some 5,500 Sunday riders who are used to 20 minute frequencies - regardless if they are on the Grove Street to Newark Penn Station main line or Broad Street Station Connector - are to wait another five minutes between trains.
Off-peak weekday Broad Street Connector riders will be waiting 30 minutes between trains. NJ Transit estimates that 500 riders will be affected.
Members of the public may attend the March 25 Newark public hearing at 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the NJ Transit Headquarters Board Room located at One Penn Plaza East. Similar hearings will be held simultaneously in Paterson, Trenton and Manalapan.
Another hearing will be held March 26 at Secaucus Junction from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. located at County Road and County Avenue, Secaucus. Similar hearings are set in Morristown, Camden and Long Branch.
There will also be an information session March 26 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Times Square Hall located at 625 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY.
Similar sessions are to be held 1 to 4 p.m. March 27 in Hackensack and Atlantic City.
written by Boaz, March 11, 2010