N.J. Transit Again Facing Deficit After Raising Bus, Rail Fares

  • Agency about $45 million short of need for current fiscal year
  • Interim chief says commuters won't pay more for tickets

Six months after it raised bus and rail fares to help bridge a deficit, New Jersey Transit is about $45 million short of what it needs for the current fiscal year.

Another round of higher prices isn’t being planned, Dennis Martin, interim executive director, told state Assembly members in Trenton. The nation’s largest statewide public-transportation system is considering cost savings, he said, without giving specifics.

“There will be no fare increase in fiscal 2017,” Martin said.

In recent months, the agency has saved $4 million restructuring how coaches enter the midtown Manhattan bus terminal operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Martin said. Rail labor contracts negotiated in March, with tentative approvals pending union votes, also would eliminate the highest-cost health plans and raise employee contributions, he said.

New Jersey Transit in October cut some routes and raised fares an average 9 percent in the face of a $120 million budget gap. Commuters, meanwhile, are enduring more frequent breakdowns, data show, and crowding and delays are routine.

The current deficit is about $9 million less than the January figure, Martin said, and the figure is likely to change again, depending on receipts.

“There will be a deficit,” Martin said. “We don’t know the size of it.”

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