In an act that surprised no one, the NJ Transit board voted to approve the package of fare hikes and service cuts.
The proposed changes were endorsed without any modifications. 6 bus routes will be curtailed or eliminated, and two late night trains removed from the schedule. Fares would increase all-around, except short-haul train fares between suburban points.
Even with the fare hike and service cuts, NJT’s financial troubles aren’t over. The union that represents NJT’s locomotive engineers is threatening to strike over contract negotiations. Currently, no NJT employees have a contract and annual raises are under the cost of living.
NJ Transit has been underpaying its labor for years, and it can’t go on forever. As it is, the agency couldn’t meet its existing obligations to its employees without a fair increase, so I am worried that another fare increase is not too far off in the future. Unless, of course, the state gives more funding for public transportation. Another gubernatorial election is coming soon, and Christie can’t stay forever.