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Customers to benefit from expanded off-peak discount, ticketing options for connections via Newark Light Rail

April 18, 2007

NEWARK, NJ — NJ TRANSIT’s Board of Directors today approved its Fiscal Year 2008 (FY08) budget, which makes 16 additional trains eligible for discounted travel on weekday mornings and increases the flexibility for travel between Hoboken and Newark division rail lines when a new fare plan takes effect June 1, 2007.

"Raising fares is always an option of last resort, but it is fiscally prudent to ensure we have a balanced budget that avoids service cuts at a time when we are experiencing record ridership," said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Kris Kolluri.

In addition, the Newark Airport Rail Station access fee will no longer be charged for child fares, resulting in a savings of $22 for a family of four. Many of these changes reflect customer feedback that was incorporated into the final FY08 fare plan approved today.

"While we are modernizing our fleet, building new stations, adding parking, and increasing service around the state, we will continue to identify more cost savings to ensure we’re tightly managing our business," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles. "We are also going to ensure that we listen to our customers beyond the hearing process and continue to integrate their feedback through the designation of a new Customer Advocate."

Customer feedback results in changes

To maximize public input, NJ TRANSIT held 13 public hearings and information sessions throughout the state and in New York City between February 28 and March 8, attended by a total of 190 members of the public – 125 offered comments for the record. In all, NJ TRANSIT received 2,155 individual comments including website submissions, public hearing written testimonies and letters on the proposed fare plan, as well as on policy issues and services.

Based on this customer input, NJ TRANSIT modified the final plan to incorporate the following changes:

Under the plan approved today, fares will increase an average of 9.6 percent. The new NJ TRANSIT fares compare favorably to other transit agencies in the region and around the country. A one-zone bus trip at $1.35 is lower than a similar trip in New York, Philadelphia and more than a dozen other markets.

Among the highlights of the fare plan:

The FY08 operating budget includes expenses of $1.587 billion and revenues of $1.527 billion, for a net unfunded operating need of $60 million. It assumes level funding from the state of about $300 million. The fare plan approved today will generate the needed revenue over 13 months.

Customers can receive additional information about the fare plan by visiting www.njtransit.com or calling 1-800-772-2222.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing nearly 857,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.