New Jersey’s budget for Fiscal 2024, which starts on July 1st, was approved on the last day of June. This year’s budget approval process was not long and drawn out with government shutdown looming. Although there were debates over certain items, e.g., the tax rebate for seniors, the Legislature passed the budget on time. At a Senate Budget Committee on April 25, the Lackawanna Coalition expressed its concern that NJT is still heading towards a fiscal cliff for FY2026.
Regarding funding for NJ Transit Corporation, there are no changes to the Governor’s Budget in Brief.(1) As for other forms of public transportation, $12 million are appropriated for Commuter and Transit Bus Private Carrier Relief and Jobs Program; previously it was zero.(2)
As the public knows, many private bus carriers are in financial peril. In New Jersey, Decamp commuter services are defunct as of February; A&C in Jersey City are in financial distress and stated that they will end services in October; Coach had threatened cutting back services in Newark and Elizabeth areas in August, specifically on routes C24, C31, C44, with no service on Sundays or after 8 p.m.; these cuts actually went into effect on July 17. Even before the pandemic, Coach cut back service on some of its lines—and during the pandemic, cuts were instituted (e.g., on the 11A) that have not been, and likely will not be, reversed.
Private bus carriers can participate in New Jersey Transit Corporation’s Private Carrier Capital Improvement Program (PCCIP). The commissioner of Transportation may allocate $4 million for Private Carrier Equipment Program to NJT’s PCCIP.(3) Some funding is available for private bus carriers. Will it be enough?
As of this writing, we do not know what the plan is for A&C bus service. A&C made the announcement in May. Will the state provide funding? Will NJT absorb A&C? Will services simply end?
NJDOT and NJT needs to be prepared when (more) bus companies falter and federal pandemic relief money runs out.
#1 2024_I1 Heading 78 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION pages 189-202; New Jersey Transit Corporation pages 198-199
#2 Budget Scoresheet, page 30, Bud.Res.Num. 1148 Commuter and Transit Bus Private Carrier Relief and Jobs Program
#3 2024_I1 Heading 78 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION page200