Taxpayers: No more free rides!

Many commuters are voicing their opinions after learning Monday that some state workers are exempt from tolls and train fares. Many commuters are shelling out between $400 and $500 a month for gas or

News 12 Staff

Aug 13, 2008, 1:14 AM

Updated 5,816 days ago

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Many commuters are voicing their opinions after learning Monday that some state workers are exempt from tolls and train fares.
Many commuters are shelling out between $400 and $500 a month for gas or train fare, and the idea that some state workers can travel for free doesn?t sit well with many.
A train ride from Trenton to New York costs $25 for a roundtrip ticket. However, New Jersey Transit workers can ride the rails for free. Driving through the Lincoln Tunnel costs $6, but Port Authority workers don?t have to pay. People who work for the Turnpike Authority pay nothing to commute to and from work because they all receive a free E-ZPass.
All those free rides add up to an estimated $3 million every year in higher tolls and higher fares for Jersey commuters.
?It?s not fair to us [taxpayers], who have to pay for everything,? Linda Rogers says.
Orange resident William Hathaway agrees. ?I don?t think they should give perks out ? perks that cost taxpayers millions of dollars,? he says.
But others say we should leave the workers alone. ?Every job has it perks. That's one of theirs,? a caller said in a message to News 12 New Jersey. ?As much as I resent having to pay extra, and believe me I do, if that's the perk they got with their job, then they deserve it.?
Some New Jersey Transit and Port Authority employees say they feel singled out. The workers say people who work in places like Macy?s, Wal-Mart and Verizon all receive employee discounts and this case shouldn?t be any different. They say free rides are one of the perks of their job, which entails working around the clock in all types of weather.
Highlands resident Bill Ajello thinks the best solution would be to establish a happy medium, such as giving the workers a discount instead of completely free rides. ?I work in the roofing and siding industry and I don't take roofing shingles or siding home for free,? he says. ?Why should these people get free rides on buses and trains on my dime??
Drivers, riders shell out for transit workers' commutes


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