NJ Transit proposes 15% fare hike with 3% annual increase, 30-day one-way ticket expiration

A train ride from Princeton Junction to Penn Station would cost $18.40 one way, and a roundtrip fare would be $36.80.

NJ Transit is proposing a 15% fare hike that would go into effect on July 1. Fares would increase 3% annually beginning in 2025 .

The fare increase is expected to help cover budget shortfalls at the agency. To generate more money, all one-way tickets would also expire after 30 days.

A one-way train ticket from Princeton Junction to New York would increase from $16 to $18.40 for the 2024-25 fiscal year under the proposal.

Public hearings on the fare increases will be held in March.

Ultra-wealthy corporations get a break while commuters bear the cost

Policy groups had called on Gov. Phil Murphy to renew the state’s corporation business tax surcharge to fund NJ Transit, but the governor refused. After the fare hikes were announced on Wednesday, advocates for the corporation business tax surcharge blasted the governor for choosing to give ultra-wealthy corporations $1 billion and instead passing on costs to transit riders.

“While big corporations are getting $1 billion in tax cuts, New Jersey’s leaders have no plan to fill budget holes and instead are throwing the costs to working families,” said Eric Benson, campaign director at For The Many NJ. “If the Governor and legislature don’t get serious about raising revenues from the wealthy and powerful, it will be the working- and middle-class residents of the state who end up paying the price.”

In a report released in September, New Jersey Policy Perspective outlined the benefits of using the corporation business tax surcharge to fully fund NJ Transit and prevent catastrophic service cuts and fare hikes. The corporation surcharge, which expired on Dec. 31, targeted the top two percent of corporations with more than $1 million in annual profits. The surcharge brought in $1 billion in revenue per year.

“Drastic fare hikes won’t solve NJ Transit’s structural financial problems, especially when the agency has never had a dedicated funding source. Forcing riders to foot the bill and relying on farebox revenue to bridge the financial gap is not just inequitable, it’s bad policy,” said Alex Ambrose, a policy analyst for New Jersey Policy Perspective.

“Policymakers chose corporations over New Jersey’s working families when they gave ultra-wealthy businesses like Amazon and Walmart a $1 billion tax cut,” Ambrose said. “To prevent additional drastic fare hikes and service cuts, reinstating the corporation business tax surcharge is the smart and practical way to fund NJ Transit. NJ Transit should not operate on the basis of revenue like a business; instead, it should be treated as a public good, and given the investments it needs to thrive.”

According to NJ Transit, ridership has returned to 80% of pre-pandemic levels, with many peak period trips at or exceeding pre-pandemic levels. The agency has lost nearly $2 billion in fare revenue since the pandemic.

In July of 2023, NJ Transit officials estimated that the agency’s 2025 fiscal year budget deficit would be $119 million.

“As the budget projections have continued to be refined since that time, and as the federal COVID-relief funding will be exhausted in FY25, cost drivers have increased substantially,” reads a statement from the agency that lists other increased costs:

  • Operational costs of more than $30 million associated with operating emergency bus service to replace multiple abandoned private carrier bus routes.
  • Contracted services, such as our Access Link paratransit service, the River LINE and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail systems, and private bus carriers.
  • Contractual wage increases related to labor collective bargaining agreements covering approximately 10,000 of the 12,000-plus NJ Transit employees.
  • Healthcare costs, which have risen nearly 47%.

According to the agency statement, NJ Transit officials cut $44 million in costs and have found $53 million in new revenue sources to offset the projected 2025 deficit. New revenue sources include ending the Flexpass pilot program and only allowing one-way tickets to be used within 30 days before they expire.

The fare hike is expected to close the remaining budget gap of $106.6 million.

Examples of proposed new fares

This fare adjustment proposal includes annual systemwide increases of 3%, effective July 1, 2025 and going into effect on July 1 of each subsequent year.

Public hearings

NJ Transit will hold 10 public hearings in 10 counties beginning Monday, March 4 through Friday, March 8 to allow the public to comment before the plan is voted on by the board of directors for NJ Transit.

Members of the public can also submit comments for the record online at www.njtransit.com/hearing, via mail to: PUBLIC HEARING OFFICE – FARE PROPOSAL COMMENTS, ONE PENN PLAZA EAST, NEWARK, NJ 07105, or via email at hearing@njtransit.com.The public comment period will be open until 11:59 p.m., Friday, March 8.

Schedule and locations

Monday, March 4, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

CHERRY HILL (Camden County)

Cherry Hill Public Library – Conference Center
1100 Kings Hwy N, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

Monday, March 4, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

ATLANTIC CITY (Atlantic County)

Atlantic City Convention Center – Meeting Room 309
1 Convention Blvd, Atlantic City, NJ 08401

Tuesday, March 5,  10 a.m. to noon

PATERSON (Passaic County)

Passaic County Community College – Paterson Room
1 College Blvd, Paterson, NJ 07505

Tuesday, March 5, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

HACKENSACK (Bergen County)

Bergen County Administration Building – Conference Center
2 Bergen County Plaza – 1st Floor, Hackensack, NJ 07601

Wednesday, March 6, 10 a.m. to noon

TRENTON (Mercer County)

Trenton Transit Center
72 S Clinton Ave, Trenton, NJ 08609

Wednesday, March 6, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

BELMAR (Monmouth County)

Belmar Municipal Building – Council Chambers
601 Main St, Belmar, NJ 07719 

Thursday, March 7, 10 a.m. to noon

WOODBRIDGE (Middlesex County)

Berkeley College Woodbridge Campus Student Centerz
430 Rahway Ave, Woodbridge Township, NJ 07095  

Thursday, March 7,_6 p.m. 8 p.m.

UNION (Union County)

Kean University – North Avenue Academic Building – Conference Center, Room 606
1000 Morris Ave – 6th Floor, Union, NJ 07083

Friday, March 8, 10 a.m. to noon

SECAUCUS (Hudson County)

Frank R. Lautenberg Rail Station – Long Hallway
County Road & County Avenue, Secaucus, NJ 07094

Friday, March 8,_6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

NEWARK (Essex County)

NJ TRANSIT Headquarters – Board Room – 9th Floor
1 Penn Plaza East, Newark, NJ 07105

All public hearing locations are accessible to people with disabilities. Residents requesting a sign language interpreter, language assistance, or other accommodations to participate in a public hearing should contact the NJ Transit Public Hearing Office at (973) 491-8520 or TTY (800) 772-2287 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., by Friday, Feb. 16.

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