TRENTON – Senator Ellen Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, issued the following statement today on announced plans to increase NJ Transit fares on buses and trains by 10 percent, beginning June 1, to raise $60 million to cover the costs for new services:
“The planned fare hike on NJ Transit customers is the absolute last thing that should be considered, particularly at a time when New Jersey families are being squeezed by skyrocketing property taxes and face some of highest cost-of-living expenses in the nation. With the proven impact of greenhouse gas emissions on global warming, we should be doing all we can to draw riders to mass transit, not turn them away.
“New Jersey roadways are among the most congested in the country, with traffic backing up at all of the major crossings into New York City and Philadelphia. Our trains and buses, administered by NJ Transit, serve as an invaluable safety valve to traffic congestion, making the most of mass transit opportunities over individual cars. However, major fare hikes, like the one planned, could strand thousands of customers who rely on trains and buses every day to get to and from work.
“I cannot support any effort which would shift the burden to the backs of mass transit customers, and make rail and bus service unaffordable for so many New Jerseyans. When we’re asking local governments and State agencies to find efficiencies, and do more with less, for NJ Transit to pass the buck off on its riders is flat-out irresponsible.”