New Brunswick resident and Rutgers University student Alex Davis has made a video and song that show how confusing NJ Transit’s fare system is for bus passengers.
Davis is an undergraduate student in planning and design at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. His video, posted July 25, has been viewed about 13,000 times and shared widely by NJ Transit commuters
“NJ Transit uses zones to charge you by how far you’ve gone. Count the boundaries that the bus is gonna cross while you are on. Buses in the north or south will charge you at a different rate. Each of those has separate scales for intrastate and interstate. Buy the ticket in the app and activate only when you see the bus in case it’s late. Show the driver. Hopefully, you did the math. If you did it wrong, then you may face their wrath,” sings Davis. “These are the fares on NJ Transit. We don’t know who plans it, but I think I know which mode they ride the most. Commuter rail is easy, but the rest is like an IQ test for the entire Garden State.”
Davis points out how the transit agency’s trip planner app doesn’t work for calculating bus fares that include transfers and override fares. Davis has created his own website, newbrinswickbuses.com, to help people properly calculate fares. “Even people completely new to riding transit can learn all the information they need to have a successful trip on the first try,” Davis says.
He has promised that if NJ Transit fixes its trip planner so that it is useful for calculating fares, he will remove a snarky paragraph from his website section on “using America’s worst transit app.”