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Adjustments Made Based on Public Comment

NEWARK, NJ, January 7, 2002 -- The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today agreed to implement a new six-year fare policy initiative, which was revised from its original proposal following public hearings held throughout the State of New Jersey last week.

The new fare policy initiative is the first step NJ TRANSIT will take to close a projected $3.1 billion operating and capital budget gap identified in the Corporation's "Call to Action" five-year strategic plan. The fare policy initiative will generate an additional $38 million annually.

"While many people at last week's public hearings supported the concept of a fare increase, it was clear to the Board of Directors and staff that some of the fare policy initiatives needed to be adjusted," said NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and State Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein. "I think today's Board action reflects the consensus of the majority of the people at our public hearings, one that is more manageable and palatable for everyone."

"Today's decision by the Board clearly shows an enlightened response to last week's public hearings," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Jeffrey A. Warsh. "The top three issues raised by our riders -- retaining the round-trip excursion fare for off-peak travel, retaining a 55 percent discount fare for senior citizens and people with disabilities and holding additional public hearings for possible inflationary fare increases over the next five years -- have all been satisfied in the final version of the fare policy initiative."

Highlights of the fare policy package include:

  • An average 10 percent fare increase on trains, buses and the Newark City Subway, effective April 1, 2002. Subsequent fare increases could be implemented the following five years on trains, buses, the Newark City Subway and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail based on inflation, but would require public hearings (hearings were not required in the original proposal).
  • Establishment of an off peak roundtrip ticket weekdays and weekends, retaining the Corporation's existing 25 percent RTX discount (plans in the original proposal to eliminate the existing weekday rail round-trip excursion fare were eliminated).
  • Implementation of a common rail fare between stations in Newark and Penn Station New York or Hoboken Terminal. The one-way fare to Penn Station New York will be $3.30 and the one-way fare to Hoboken will be $2.15.
  • Increasing the rail on-board ticket purchase surcharge from $3 to $5.
  • Fares on the No. 126 Hoboken-New York route and between Bridge Plaza in Fort Lee and the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal will be restored to standard interstate bus fares.
  • An amendment to the existing ticket refund policy, providing a refund for unused portions of monthly and weekly passes and 10-trip tickets (other tickets would no longer be eligible for the refund).
  • NJ TRANSIT will be authorized to set fares for new services and include those fares in the five-year fare plan.

Items in the original proposal that will not be implemented include:

  • A reduction in discount fares for senior citizens and people with disabilities to 50 percent, consistent with state law (55 percent discount will remain in effect).
  • Streamlining bus travel by combining all bus one- and two-zone fares into a single fare zone, with the new one-way fare in the new zone $1.20 and a monthly bus pass priced at $49. The Board has asked NJ TRANSIT to continue studying this proposal and report back by January 2003.
  • Formalizing one-way fares as the established fare on all routes with all discounted fare options defined as promotional fares and subject to change.

NJ TRANSIT would begin to implement the fare policy initiative on April 1, 2002.

NJ TRANSIT has not implemented a fare increase since 1991. When adjusted for inflation, fares have actually declined 29 percent since 1991. Since that time, the Corporation's operating expenses have risen 67 percent. Over the last 10 years, ridership increases have boosted farebox revenues by $152 million and non-farebox revenues have increased by $41 million. However, NJ TRANSIT's shortfall in funding for Fiscal Year 2002 (FY 02) was more than $200 million (defined as requested budget increase vs. actual budget increase). As State and Federal operating subsidies have declined, NJ TRANSIT capital funds -- which are used to purchase equipment and build facilities and infrastructure -- have been used to help offset rising operating costs.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing bus, rail and light rail services for 380,600 daily commuters on 240 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 163 rail stations, 26 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.