NJ TRANSIT Announces Fare Hike Proposal Amid Fiscal Challenges


Public Hearings Scheduled Statewide for Feedback on 15% Fare Increase Plan and Financial Challenges Facing the Agency.

NEWARK, NJ, January 24, 2024 – NJ TRANSIT has proposed a significant fare adjustment of 15%, slated to begin July 1, 2024, in response to a looming budget deficit of $106.6 million for Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25). This proposal, marking the first major fare increase since 2015, also anticipates subsequent annual increases of 3%, capping yearly hikes to no more than this percentage.

The proposition emerges in a complex financial context for NJ TRANSIT. The agency has sustained substantial revenue losses nearing $2 billion since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with current ridership hovering around 80% of pre-pandemic levels. Federal COVID relief funds, which have helped maintain service levels, are expected to be exhausted by FY25. Additionally, NJ TRANSIT faces escalating costs, including over $30 million for emergency bus services and a 47% rise in healthcare expenses since 2015.

While NJ TRANSIT has implemented cost-reduction strategies and revenue enhancements totaling $96 million, these measures are insufficient to bridge the entire budget gap. The fare adjustment is presented as a necessary step to preserve service levels without reducing operations.

Examples of proposed new fares.

The proposal raises questions about the impact on commuters, particularly given that the agency's ridership has not fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels. The fare increase could potentially deter some riders, further affecting revenue.

NJ TRANSIT has scheduled 10 public hearings in various New Jersey counties between March 4 and March 8, 2024, inviting public input on the fare adjustment proposal. The agency emphasizes the importance of public feedback in the decision-making process. Comments can also be submitted online, by mail (PUBLIC HEARING OFFICE – FARE PROPOSAL COMMENTS, ONE PENN PLAZA EAST, NEWARK, NJ 07105), or by email (hearing@njtransit.com) until March 8, 2024.

The hearings are designed to be accessible to all, with accommodations available for persons with disabilities. Requests for specific accommodations should be made by February 16, 2024.

This fare proposal underscores the ongoing financial challenges faced by NJ TRANSIT. The outcome of the public hearings and subsequent board decision will be critical in determining the agency's fiscal path and ability to maintain service levels amidst rising costs and fluctuating ridership. 

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