NEWARK, N.J. — NJ Transit riders could see their fares go up 9%, under a proposal unveiled Monday afternoon, but some commuters said they don't believe management made enough cuts before turning to them, according to NJ.com.
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Two individual trains and six bus routes also are on the chopping block. The proposed fare increases and service reductions would help the agency close a $60 million budget gap, which has been cut in half from $120 million. This is the first fare increase in five years, the report said.
If approved in July, the proposed service cuts would happen in September 2015 and fare increases would take effect on October 1, 2015, NJ Transit officials said.
"I'm not the least impressed," said David Peter Alan, president of the Lackawanna Commuter Coalition, adding that he is more concerned about the service cuts setting the stage for more slashing more train and bus service, NJ.com reported.
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New Jersey Transit's press release on its fare and service proposal:
Throughout the past five years, NJ TRANSIT held the line on fare increases while maintaining high quality services and implementing new customer amenities including MyTix, Departurevision, and MyBus Now.
However, costs such as contract services – Access Link, the organization’s paratransit service, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and private carriers – and healthcare and benefits, general liability insurance, workers’ compensation and pensions have steadily risen. As a result, NJ TRANSIT has been left with a significant budget gap.
Although NJ TRANSIT has identified more than $40 million in reductions in overtime, fuel savings, energy and vehicle parts efficiencies, the agency still faces an approximate $60 million budget gap for the 2016 fiscal year. To close the gap, fare and service adjustments are being proposed.
NJ TRANSIT will hold nine scheduled public hearings and one information session beginning Saturday, May 16, 2015 to allow the public the opportunity to learn more about the proposed fare increases and service changes and offer comments before the plan is considered by the Board of Directors on July 8, 2015.
The proposed service and fare changes would take effect in September 2015 and on October 1, 2015, respectively. The proposed fare adjustment would be an average of 9 percent for the majority of NJ TRANSIT customers.