‘What about the poor?’ New Jersey residents criticize NJ Transit’s unanimous decision to raise fares

New Jerseyans rallied in Newark outside of the New Jersey Transit headquarters ahead of the vote.

Naomi Yané

Apr 11, 2024, 2:31 AM

Updated 49 days ago


New Jersey Transit’s board unanimously approved a 15% fare increase on Wednesday.
Some commuters are now bracing themselves for when the changes take effect in July, while others aren’t sure how they’ll pay the extra.
"We have people that are just barely making it, never mind paying extra, What about the people that are poor?" asks Tracy Callender, of Irvington.
Ganiyat Adebisi hopes to make more money soon to be able to afford the increase.
"I’m looking for a job, I don’t know how to do it,” Adebisi says.
Some New Jersey residents rallied in Newark outside of the New Jersey Transit headquarters ahead of the vote, including Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla. The mayor said this move heavily impacts communities of color.
"This also disproportionately impacts Black and brown communities because they rely upon mass transit at a higher level than other communities,” Bhalla says.
In towns like Summit, residents are bracing themselves for the change. Some say they plan to reallocate their personal funds.
"I’m hoping that most of us can afford it. Obviously in Summit, this neighborhood, yes, most people can afford it,” says Laura Chen. “Not happy about it, but what can we do?"
Commuter Mario Solodkin said his wife will have to start driving him to the train station to save on parking.
"Parking two or three days less a month and use that money to pay the difference,” says Solodkin.
While officials say a no vote for the hike would have resulted in a cut in service, commuters say the service is already subpar.
The 15% increase kicks in on July 1. Commuters can expect to see a 3% increase every year going forward.

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