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Rail News: Passenger Rail

NJ Transit ponders fare hikes, service reductions on top of other cost-cutting measures


On Friday, New Jersey Transit announced plans to increase fares and reduce service to address a $300 million budget deficit — three days after the agency said it would trim 2 percent of its workforce, cut executives’ salaries and freeze spending to help bridge the budget gap.

NJ Transit proposes to increase fares 25 percent. The cost of a one-way ticket on the Newark or River Line light-rail lines would rise from $1.35 to $1.70, and one-way commuter-rail tickets would increase from a range of $1.25 to $13.25 to a range of $1.50 to $16.50. Most fare hikes — which are expected to generate more than $140 million in revenue — would take effect May 1.

NJ Transit also proposes to eliminate 32 of 725 commuter trains, with at least two trains cut on each of the agency’s 11 lines. In addition, the agency would reduce train frequency. For example, intervals between Hudson-Bergen late-night trains would extend from 20 to 30 minutes on weekdays and the frequency of Newark service between the Broad Street and Newark Penn stations would decrease during weekday midday hours from every 15 minutes to every 30 minutes.

“Our service plan is designed to size our service to match ridership demand,” said NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein in a prepared statement. “We also looked at where we could squeeze out the most costs while impacting as few customers as possible.”

The agency plans to hold a series of public meetings to review the fare and service proposals.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/8/2010