NJ Transit plans to hike fares, cut service

NJ Transit announced a proposal Friday that would increase fares by 25 percent and cut service in proportion to ridership declines.

"We recognize that any increase is a burden for our customers, particularly during a recession," says NJ Transit Executive Director Jim Weinstein. These measures are in the wake of an 11 percent cut in state subsidies announced by Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) last month.

Under the proposed plan, bus riders would experience reduced service on approximately 50 lines. The measure would increase the time between arrivals by five to 20 minutes. Train riders would see at least two trains cut per route. The plan calls for the agency to cut a total of 32 trains from the schedule.

NJ Transit says overall ridership has decreased 4 percent from last year.

The plan calls for most of the changes to take effect May 1, 2010. NJ Transit expects to generate more than $140 million in revenue from the proposed cuts.

NJ Transit is facing a projected $300 million budget gap for the fiscal years 2010 and 2011.

The agency will hold 11 public hearings on the matter from March 25-27 in various locations around the state.

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