M-N Fare Increase Hits NJT Stations Too

Metro-North Railroad has announced fare increases effective March 1 on all its lines, including the lines in New York State operated by NJ Transit.  However, it turns out, riders from some NJT stations in New Jersey on the Main-Bergen and Pascack Valley Lines will also suffer increases.  Why?  It turns out that when NJT had its most recent fare increase, 25% across-the-board—except for off-peak round-trip riders who suffered an incredible 47% increase—Metro-North stations at the far end of those lines did not increase their fares, which are controlled by M-N, not NJT.  If all NJT fares had been increased uniformly, this would have led to an anomalous situation in which fares to the last NJT station, for example Suffern, would have been higher than fares to Metro-North stations beyond.  Therefore, the fares to NJT points were capped at the M-N rates or below.  This meant that, since the M-N fare from Sloatsburg and Tuxedo is $9.50 one way to Hoboken, so is the fare from NJT stations at Allendale, Ramsey, Mahwah, and Suffern.  Suffern is in NJT fare zone 14: a typical fare to Hoboken from zone 14 is $10.25.  Now that M-N is increasing its fares, the cap on the NJT fares will also rise.  The increase will be most significant at the farthest-out NJT stations, Suffern and Montvale, where the increases could be as much as 9%.  (Some media reports have said that senior/disable fares will not be affected, but the Metro-North website says that they will.)  As yet there is no information about off-peak round-trip fares, which have been offered to Metro-North points (including Suffern) at a substantial savings; for example, the current full fare from Suffern to Hoboken is $9.50 each way, but an ORT ticket is only $14.25, a 25% discount off of 2 one-ways.  These are the fares that NJT eliminated in their last fare increase, but Metro-North was more forgiving.