NJ commuters caught in Catch-22: Facing transit rate hikes amid congestion pricing

NJ commuters can't seem to catch a break. 

If you opt to drive into New York City, you'll be slammed with a congestion pricing fee and if you take New Jersey transit instead, you'll have to pay higher fares.

That means commuters will face $15.00 to enter Manhattan South of 60th St. or 15% more for trains and buses (not including PATH).

Either way, commuters will have to pay more.

NJ Transit plans to raise train and bus ticket fares by 15%, by July 1 according to the proposal.

As hearings on New York's congestion pricing plan have come to an end, public hearings regarding the proposed transit increase have ramped up. 

The plan to raise fares itself was met with commuter resistance and some support--many calling for better service. 

NJ Transit held its first public hearings in Cherry Hill and Atlantic City Monday and will do so again in Paterson and Hackensack on Tuesday.

The hearings are also facing major backlash as they will only be held in person. 

Many residents and commuters are petitioning for a virtual option.

They argue that a virtual option would ensure that everyone's voice is heard "without risking health or sacrificing significant personal time." 

If the proposal is approved by the Board of Directors, commuters would pay 15% more per ride and 3% in annual fare increases, to offset the $119 million budget deficit. 

This is the first NJ Transit fare hike in nearly a decade. The last NJ Transit fare increase was back in 2015. 

If the proposal passes, the system-wide fare increase would go into effect July 1, 2024. The agency has said that the fares would not increase by more than 15%.

The proposal also includes annual systemwide increases of 3%, to take effect on July 1, 2025, and again on July 1 of each subsequent year, the agency said. No fares would increase more than 3% annually.

NJ Transit hike prices

Here's how much it would cost NJ commuters once the hike goes into effect: 

Bus (one zone local): $1.80 (+12.5%)

Bus (Jersey City to Port Authority): $4 (+14.29%)

Bus (Toms River to Port Authority): $24.40  (+14.82%)

Access Link base fare: $1.65 (+13.79%)

Newark Light Rail: $1.80 (+12.5%)

River Line: $1.80 (+12.5%)

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail: $2.55 (+13.33%)

Rail (Philadelphia to Pennsauken): $4.85  (+14.12%)

Rail (Princeton Junction to NY Penn): $18.40 (+15%)

NJ Transit will hold ten in person meetings in ten different counties through Friday. 

For more information, customers should visit www.njtransit.com/hearing for information regarding the fare adjustment proposal.