January 22, 2020

No Fare Hikes in Fiscal 2021 For NJ Transit Passengers

By Anne Levin

There will be no fare hike for NJ Transit commuters in fiscal year 2021, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday morning. Murphy made the announcement during a ceremony in Kearny honoring seven locomotive engineers who had completed their training.

“Today, we celebrate another class of future locomotive engineers who will improve safety, reliability, and services for the hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents who ride NJ Transit every day,” Murphy said. “I am also proud to announce that I will not include a fare hike in my Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal. We are on the path to the resurgence of NJ Transit as a system that commuters can rely on and trust, and I want to make sure that riders are not further burdened while we continue to improve the system.”

Princeton commuters are among those to have experienced significant problems getting to and from work on NJ Transit over the past few years, with delays and cancellations among the biggest complaints. The Dinky, which connects Princeton to Princeton Junction, was out of service for several months last year.

Since taking office, Murphy’s administration has created some relief by adding engineers. The completion of the current class “will help fulfill the agency’s continued commitment to hiring and training more locomotive engineers,” according to a press release from the governor’s office. “This graduating class will bring the total number of new engineers that have joined NJ Transit since late 2018 to 169.”

Those honored in Kearny “are on the verge of completing a rigorous, seven-week-long training program,” said NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett, who attended the ceremony. “For our customers, that means fewer train cancellations as a result of engineer availability. Over the two-year period between 2019 and 2020, we will graduate seven classes of locomotive engineers — the same number of classes that graduated in the previous five years combined. And beginning this year, we are starting to see real net gains in our ranks of locomotive engineers, thanks to an unprecedented effort to recruit, train, and hire these essential members of our railroad crew.”

Under the previous administration of Gov. Chris Christie, NJ Transit raised fares by 36 percent, according to the governor’s office.

The class of seven trainees will graduate in the coming weeks once they finish the final requirements and certifications necessary to become locomotive engineers with the agency. The next engineer training class is set to graduate this April.