An NJ Transit Nightmare before FY25

An NJ Transit Nightmare before FY25

Photo: Allyssa Bovasso-Pignataro

Commuters furious with NJ Transit’s extensive amount of delays and service suspensions protested outside of the agency’s headquarters Friday morning before the Operations and Customer Service Committee meeting.

In February, Governor Phil Murphy proposed a $55.9 million budget, now $56.6 million, for Fiscal Year 2025, which included a 15 percent fare increase for NJ Transit trains and buses.

The agency provides more than 215 million passenger trips per year and connects New Jersey commuters with jobs in New York City and Philadelphia, as well as bus and light rail within the state.

NJ Transit serves a wide demographic, but it is especially important for low-income families who don’t have access to a car or workers who don’t have a driver’s license.

Gov. Murphy met with NJ Transit and Amtrak, who share tracks on the northeast corridor, Thursday to address the recent delays after both agencies have been pointing fingers at each other for weeks. 

“We are committed to addressing the root causes of these disruptions to restore reliability along the Northeast Corridor,” the governor said in a post on X

Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11) suggested NJ Transit "pause and re-evaluate" the increase, but Gov. Murphy, who is in charge of the agency's board of directors, said he would leave it up to the board to make that decision at Thursday’s Meeting.

On top of this, a “Corporate Transit Fee” was introduced in February and is said to impose an 11.5 percent tax on the 600 largest companies in the state, with net revenues of $10 million. The fee is expected to bring in $800 million a year as a stable source of operating funds for NJ Transit, which has lacked funding for years. 

NJ Transit became a top priority of the Murphy administration. “Our promise was to fix NJ Transit so it can become the world-class transportation system we need it to be,” Murphy said.

Murphy’s second-term mission is focused on making the state more affordable for hard working families. This fee is said to be enough to cover operating costs, making the fare increase, the first since 2015, seem unnecessary as it is an additional cost to New Jersey residents.

In the meeting, officials said that they will inspect tracks, overhead wires and other electrical equipment more often. They also plan to expand overnight repair windows to decrease the amount of delays to commuters during operating hours. There is an investigation being held to figure out the cause of the delays, amongst other issues. 

The FY25 budget is expected to be voted on in the Assembly and Senate chambers Friday afternoon and is to be signed into law by Gov. Murphy by midnight Sunday. 

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