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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:

  • Review of airport access issues: NJ TRANSIT has convened a working group, including the Port Authority of NY & NJ, the MTA, and the City of Newark to review airport access issues including transit services to the airport, and bus and rail ticketing and pricing, including from New York Penn Station.
  • Expanded off-peak travel: Responding to issues of capacity and affordability, the morning peak period will begin a half-hour later, at 7 a.m., effective June 1 (currently trains arriving at the final terminal from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. are considered peak). This change provides customers the option of using discounted off-peak round-trip tickets on 16 additional trains and encourages travel on earlier morning trains when more capacity is available.
  • Increased travel flexibility: Rail one-way tickets purchased for transfer between the Hoboken and Newark division rail lines "via Secaucus" will be valid for use on the Newark Light Rail at no additional cost, enabling customers to take advantage of the new one-mile connection between Newark Broad Street and Newark Penn stations with a single ticket.
  • Customer advocate: NJ TRANSIT has appointed a customer advocate reporting directly to the executive director, to identify customer service improvements across all modes.

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:

  • Local bus, Newark Light Rail, River LINE, Access Link and Bus Contract Carrier base (one-zone) fares will increase 8 percent, from $1.25 to $1.35. Monthly fares, which have not changed since 2002, will increase 9.9 percent.
  • Interstate and intra-commuter bus fares will increase an average of 9.9 percent.
  • Rail fares will increase an average of 9.9 percent.
  • Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) fares will increase by 9.9 percent, with the base fare changing from $1.75 to $1.90. HBLR monthly fares have not increased since 2002.
  • The 351 New York-Meadowlands Sports Complex bus route fares purchased on board will increase from $5.00 to $6.00. Fares purchased at ticket windows or ticket vending machines will increase from $4.50 to $5.00.
  • The Ozone Pass program fare will change from $1.25 to $1.35.

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 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.