On Wednesday, the NJ Transit board of directors approved a sustainable fare and service plan while still helping close the agency’s looming $300 million budget gap.
“In these extraordinary financial times we are learning to do more with less and by doing so, NJ Transit will emerge a stronger, more financially-stable agency, serving the needs of New Jersey with a quality public transportation system,” said Executive Director Jim Weinstein.
"We engaged in a productive public dialogue over the last two months that allowed us to develop a plan that would begin to build a foundation to maintain financial stability while balancing a commitment to customers by offering discounted pass options and continuing service levels in areas where there is customer demand,” Weinstein said. “This plan tackles this financial crisis head-on and helps to address the State's collective needs for fiscal responsibility.”
NJ Transit’s sustainable fare plans will take effect May 1, 2010. Under the new plan there will be a modest 10-percent increase for local bus and light rail customers.
Current Access Link services for people with disabilities who are unable to use regular bus service, and selected bus routes in eight counties will be maintained.
NJ Transit has implemented best business practices to reduce operating expenses and increase route productivity. Under the plan, fares for one-zone local bus, light rail and Access Link services will be adjusted from $1.35 to $1.50. Customer incentives to purchase discounted fares will continue with monthly fare options that can save a customer up to 30 percent off the cost of one-way tickets for daily commuting.
Under the new plan, commuter rail and interstate bus tickets will increase 25 percent to be able to continue providing a quality product. Off-peak rail roundtrip discounts — purchased by less than 20 percent of rail customers — will not be sold after April 30 and will no longer be accepted after May 23. Most customers using weekly and monthly rail passes will continue to be able to make connections between trains and buses without additional cost. Discounted 10-trip bus tickets will continue to be offered, with discounts up to 15 percent.
The board also took action to maintain service on several local bus routes in Middlesex, Morris, Monmouth, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties that had been proposed for elimination. In addition, NJ Transit will continue to operate its No. 68 (Old Bridge–Weehawken) and No. 138 (Old Bridge–East Brunswick–New York) routes.