New York

Despite #NoPayMay Threats, NJ Transit Riders Wind Up Buying Monthly Passes

After days of threatening on social media to withhold fares from New Jersey Transit after a frustrating month of delays, cancellations and overcrowding, riders in the real world don't seem to actually be following through with #NoPayMay.

The movement was borne on Twitter and started gaining traction online.

"I'm not buying a monthly May ticket, and I hope no one else does either," one rider tweeted, urging others to keep using their April monthly pass in protest. 

"It's unconscionable that NJ Transit and our elected officials have no response and no solution for passengers," tweeted another. 

It seemed to be attracting some attention for awhile, but when May 1 rolled around, not one rider at Bloomfield station told News 4 they were actually going to ride NJ Transit without a ticket. 

"Getting the conductors upset isn't going to make me feel better," said commuter Bill Wallach. 

Noel Byfield said he spent a lot of his time waiting for a train during the month of April -- but he begrudgingly bought his May monthly pass Monday morning.

"I don't have a choice. I need the train to get to work, the bus is too long," he said. 

"It's no-win," said commuter Ray Hagans. "Because once you get to New York, they are there to arrest you, and you pay a fine. You have to pay your fare on the train, that's the way it goes." 

NJ Transit police in Newark said they haven't gotten any calls Monday about passengers refusing to pay for their tickets.

In a statement, the railroad said, "We appreciate our customers for their patience and understanding while we continue to work with Amtrak to improve service and the quality of their commute."  

Even though riders were buying their monthly tickets, they weren't exactly happy about it.

"I do think something needs to be done to show the riders' disapproval of what's going on," said Byfield. 

The Suburban Commuters Network, an advocacy group based in New Jersey, does not endorse #NoPayMay but wants riders to call their government representatives and complain. 

In the meantime, riders should continue to plan for delays this week as crews continue track maintenance and inspections. NJ Transit is even offering lateness excuse notes for riders to give to their employers. 

"If you have experienced delays that have compromised your work situation, please stop by one of our Customer Service offices and pick up a delay letter for your employer," NJT Executive Director Steve Santoro said in an open letter posted on the railroad's website. (Customers can also use the "Contact Us" form on the NJT website to ask for a tardy note.)

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