NJ Transit rail fares are rising faster than inflation, gas taxes

NJ Transit, in all likelihood, is going to raise train fares by about 9% in October.

An analysis from the good people at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign shows exactly what these fare hikes mean in the grand scheme of things.

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 3.08.27 PM

The red line shows what fares would be like if they rose along with inflation since 1982.  Blue bars show actual fares. As you can see, fares increased at a rate roughly equivalent to inflation until 2009.

In 2010, NJ Transit the largest fare hike in its history, with rail fares rising about 25%. Increases were even greater for off-peak riders, who lost discounted round-trip fares.

Meanwhile, here’s what’s been happening to gas taxes.  New Jersey has gone nearly 25 years without a gas tax increase.

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 3.09.14 PM The red line shows inflation-adjusted gas taxes, while the blue bars show NJT rail fares, adjusted for inflation.  Between 1989 and 2001, the gas tax and train fares were almost equal.

Since 2001, train fares have risen 4 times, and we’re approaching the 5th.  The gas tax has not changed, and now the ratio between train fares and the gas tax is about double what it once was.

A recent poll shows that New Jersey voters actually support an increase in the gas tax, not that that matters much to the governor.  Unlike the gas tax, turnpike and parkway tolls are scheduled for regular increases.  We than thank Corzine for that.

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