NJ Transit fares would soar 25 percent

NJ Transit yesterday unveiled 25-percent fare increases and elimination of the off-peak round-trip discount among systemwide service cuts, including several trains that serve Rahway. Public hearings on the proposal are scheduled for March 25-26 (this link also links to an online comment form). The new fares would take effect May 1. Here’s coverage from the Star-Ledger, CBS and Asbury Park Press.

Eliminating the off-peak round-trip discount is essentially a 43-percent increase, raising the Rahway-to-New York fare from $12.25 to $17.50. The discount is used by 17 percent of riders, according to NJT.

One-way fares and monthly fares would jump 25 percent, from $7 to $8.75 and from $198 to $248, respectively. The increases would be largest in the transit agency’s history. There were no fare increases from 1990 until 2002 but this would be fourth since then. NJT claims said fares would still be 3 percent lower than in 1991 — when adjusted for inflation. The hikes — along with cutting executive salaries 5 percent, reducing 401(k) contributions by a third, hiring and salary freezes — are expected to raise $140 million toward a $300-million budget deficit.

Five weekday trains on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) will be discontinued, affecting an estimated 2,700 customers in all. According to NJT, this is the only line that breaks even, with passenger fares covering the cost of operation; overall, fares cover 43 percent of operations. Only three of the five NEC trains slated for elimination serve Rahway:

* Train 3868, 5:28 p.m. from Trenton — departs Rahway, 6:16 p.m. for NYC
* Train 3171, 5:41 p.m. from NYC — arrives Rahway, 6:15 p.m. (express EWR-Rah)
* Train 3801, 12:43 a.m. from NYC — arrives Rahway, 1:21 a.m.

Four weekday trains on the North Jersey Coast (NJC) will be eliminated, affecting 1,000 customers, but only two serve Rahway:

* Train 3517, 7:42 p.m. from NYC — arrives Rahway, 8:21 p.m.
* Train 3518, 9:13 p.m. from South Amboy — departs Rahway, 9:32 p.m. for NYC

Rahway Train Station has more than 3,000 average weekday boardings, ranking about 16th among all NJ Transit stations. Will the new fares affect how you use mass transit, whether for work or play?

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Thanks to all who came out to Flynn’s last week for happy hour. You can check out a few photos on our Facebook page. Congratulations to Chandler on winning two passes for The Rahway Taste of Spring on April 9.