Dear NJ Transit: You get an F in Math

I’m a little bit pissed – no, a lot pissed – at NJ Transit for their recent fare hikes. As if it wasn’t bad enough that they increased their standard peak adult fares by 25%, they eliminated the off-peak fares entirely. My $20 ticket RT ticket to visit my mother on the weekend has now leapt to $30. That’s fifty-freaking-percent! And I’m talking about commuter routes, not intercity Amtrak-type stuff, which prices itself to balance between bus fares and airfares.

Let me tell you how this has affected me personally… My mother’s 60th birthday is next week, and I suggested a slumber party for 6 at my place as a Plan B if the Hershey Park idea (hers, not ours!) doesn’t pan out for whatever reason. She said, “that’s $150 in train fares for us to come in, that seems kind of stupid.” She’s totally right.

If NJ Transit was looking for a justification for cutting off-peak services, then this was a really smart move – the natural atrophy of their customer base. However, if they were thinking “if they pay $20, they’ll pay $30”, well, I doubt my little family unit is the only one changing their mass transit habits.

Tell me if I’m wrong … I always thought of public transportation as being economical, efficient, ecological, and really damn practical. In fact, I enjoy learning my way around the systems in other countries, even ones with alphabets I don’t know. It’s supposed to cost less and take less time than driving. Now, to drive round-trip from where my mom is in NJ ($14 gas), pay for the tunnel ($8 toll), and cough up for 8-12 hours in a parking garage ($22)… that’s $34. To take the train and the subway is… $34. That math also applies to commuters. A zero sum game like that is going to completely defeat the purpose of having a mass transit system.

So, NJ Transit, you fail some pretty basic math. And you also fail in serving the purpose for your existence.

Rant over.


5 Responses

  1. Well said!

  2. For Chris and I to take the train into the city its $40. For us to drive in and street park, its $10 + gas. So lets say $15.

    It used to be $13 RT. Now its $20.

    Its a huge difference. When either of us are laid off, we’re supposed to go to our union hall to check for work. 85% of the time you don’t get work out of this, so its $100 a week just to see if you can get work. Its bad.

  3. NYC is so expensive! So many tolls everywhere! My mom lives about 50 miles away. The cost. Gas.

  4. That is madness. I’m struggling with basically the same situation with SF transit where it’ll cost me $9-12/day (1 hour plus each way) to take transit and something like $10-15 to park (30+ minutes each way).

  5. Wow! Steep increase! That’s BS.
    It’s $44 thought for you to travel via car.

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