New Jersey Transit recently held a number of hearings around the State on its proposal to increase fares and cut services. The Lackawanna Coalition opposed these proposals for several reasons. Only transit riders are singled out for an increase, for the eighth time since user fees on motor fuels reached their current level in 1988. Our elected leaders, the governor and the legislature, should fund NJ Transit appropriately and encourage people to use transit, rather than continually raising transit fares, but not user fees for motorists and truckers.
We also object to the proposed service cuts. It is bad transportation policy to eliminate the last runs on rail lines, as proposed for the Boonton Line and Pascack Valley Line, because it forces transit riders to leave New York City unduly early to catch the “new” last train. We also object to the proposed cuts to #872 bus service in Morris County, and instead we call for restructuring of Morris County local bus service.
Rather than higher fares and less service, transit riders should have more and better service, including more Morris & Essex Line trains stopping at Secaucus Station. We believe that the riding public deserves more and better transit; not being required to spend more money for less.
Coalition members appeared and made statements at four hearings: in Secaucus, Newark, Hackensack, and Morristown. We appreciate the efforts of all Coalition members and others who made their voices heard. We note new voices of elected leaders and of the union that represents NJ Transit’s bus drivers, the Amalgamated Transit Union, raised in opposition to the fare increase and service cuts, and in support of more funding for NJ Transit.
We hope this represents the start of new alliances between advocates for the riders and other concerned persons, which will eventually result in between transit and, therefore, better mobility for everyone in New Jersey.