Press Release

Over 40 Advocacy, Labor, Community, and Local Government Leaders Urge NJ Transit to Stop Double-Digit Fare Increases

Leaders call on NJ Transit to refrain from voting on double-digit fare hike proposal and instead work with Governor Murphy and the Legislature on funding the agency through the state budget.

Published on Mar 8, 2024 in Transportation

On Friday, leaders from more than 40 organizations and local governments urged NJ Transit to refrain from voting on the agency’s proposal to raise fares by 15 percent in light of the new Corporate Transit Fee proposed by Governor Murphy.

In an open letter to NJ Transit Board Chair Francis O’Connor that was submitted as a public comment to the agency, the diverse group of labor, advocacy, faith, community, and local government leaders called on NJ Transit to reconsider double-digit fare hikes and instead work with Governor Murphy and the Legislature on funding the agency through the state budget.

“When NJ Transit first proposed raising fares in January, the agency faced a $119 million budget shortfall with no guarantee of additional state aid. Since then, Governor Murphy proposed the first-ever dedicated source funding for NJ Transit — a 2.5 percent Corporate Transit Fee on corporations with more than $10 million in net profits — that would provide the agency more than $800 million annually,” the letter states.

The letter states that the proposed fare increases would disproportionately harm low-income families that rely on mass transit, highlighting that more than half of NJ Transit bus riders have an annual income of less than $35,000, and that the state’s Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and Asian residents are the least likely to own a car.

“Raising fares should always be a last resort, not the first solution for an agency facing budget issues,” the letter continues. “A double-digit fare hike proposed mere months before its implementation is not a sustainable solution, nor is it an equitable one. This proposal will disproportionately harm poorer families who rely on transit, serving as a de facto tax for low-income riders, many of whom are already on strict budgets.”

The letter was signed by leaders of 41 organizations, including New Jersey Policy Perspective, New Jersey Urban Mayors Association, Regional Plan Association, 32BJ SEIU, New Jersey Education Association, Ironbound Community Corporation, Raritan Valley Line Mayor’s Alliance, Salvation and Social Justice, Make the Road New Jersey, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, and more.

The letter concludes with four recommendations for NJ Transit moving forward: Refrain from voting on the double-digit fare hike proposal; roll back any future fare hikes to a more reasonable annual increase, with lower rates for local bus routes; save the FlexPass and reverse the proposed 30-day expiration on all one-way tickets; and commit to holding hearings on any future fare hike, with a virtual option, even those proposed in perpetuity.

A copy of the letter can be read here.

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