What to Know
- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy promised there would be no fare hike for NJ Transit riders when he proposes his 2021 budget
- Murphy made the announcement Tuesday morning, in the presence of the fourth class of prospective NJ Transit engineers, who he says share his commitment to rebuilding the agency
- Murphy has made reforming the agency one of his central goals
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy promised there would be no fare hike for NJ Transit riders in his 2021 budget proposal -- news that came as music to the ears of commuters who already shell out some of the highest mass transit rates in the country.
Murphy made the announcement Tuesday morning, in the presence of the fourth class of prospective NJ Transit engineers, who he says share his commitment to rebuilding the agency.
“To those commuters, who already pay some of the highest fares in the country, I’m going to make a commitment. The budget I propose to Legislature next month for fiscal year 2021 will be our third budget in a row introduced with no fare hike for NJ Transit commuters,” he said.
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Murphy said that previous administration balanced the state budget on the backs of commuters and "played" a "game with state-funding sources."
Overall, under the previous administration, NJ Transit raised fares by 36 percent, according to Murphy's office.
"Our transit system exists to get you reliably to work and school," he said, adding "it exists to make your life smoother, not to further burden you."
While not having to face a fare increase in the immediate future is good news, the agency has experienced its share of problems over the years, including cancellations and delays -- although the data shows that such instances have dropped significantly.
In November 2019, NJ Transit -- which operates the nation's largest statewide commuter rail service -- released data showing how often its trains have been delayed or cancelled in the last three years.
The data shows cancellations have dropped significantly from a year ago but that hundreds of trains are still cancelled each month.
The information released in the fall dates back to the beginning of 2017. It was in response to an executive order issued by Murphy.
Murphy has made reforming the agency one of his central goals. But he's faced criticism as train riders have endured increasing delays and cancellations in recent years.
Those have been due to a variety of factors including an engineer shortage and federally mandated safety upgrades.
However, on Tuesday he said the agency is "improving bit by bit, step by step" and thanked those who form part of the class of engineers.
The class of seven trainees will be graduating in the upcoming weeks after they complete the final requirements and certifications necessary to become locomotive engineers with NJ Transit.
The completion of this class will help fulfill the agency’s continued commitment to hiring and training more locomotive engineers. This graduating class will bring the total number of new engineers that have joined NJ Transit since late 2018 to 169. The next engineer training class is set to graduate in April 2020.