The proposed 25 percent fare hike will be devastating to commuters and working families throughout the state. As an example, a single adult rider with a monthly train pass traveling to and from Woodbridge to New York Penn Station will have to pay an additional $684 a year, $57 a month. For many New Jerseyans, that’s more than half a week’s pay that can no longer help pay the rent, groceries, utilities or be saved.
And if you think that a "turnstile tax" only affects mass transit riders, you’re wrong. That 25 percent hike means the rider from Woodbridge has less money to put back into the local economy, whether it’s buying clothes, going for a drink or dinner after work, buying a movie ticket, picking up a CD, or other discretionary spending. That’s money that will never make it into the coffers of New Jersey businesses. And when that missing money is multiplied by tens of millions of monthly riders, it adds up quickly and could result in New Jersey businesses cutting back on inventory, withholding raises, instituting hiring freezes, firing employees or even closing altogether.
It also means that NJ Transit riders will be paying more to receive reduced service on every train and bus line in the state. That means longer commutes, more crowding on remaining trains and buses and fewer options if a train or bus breaks down, is delayed or missed.