If you ride NJ Transit, get ready to dig deeper into your pockets come this summer.  Officials announced Wednesday that NJ Transit has proposed a 15 percent rate hike in its 2025 budget.  If that proposal is approved in April, it would take effect on July 1. Subsequent 3 percent fare increases are also proposed to take effect on July 1 of each year moving forward, officials said.

In essence, one-way fares on buses and trains would jump by $3.  The proposed new rates would also impact light rail and river LINE modes of travel. You can view the proposed fares here.

“This proposed fare adjustment, along with NJ TRANSIT’s internal efficiencies, savings and revenue enhancements would allow for a fully funded FY25 operating budget that avoids reducing service levels,” NJ Transit said in a statement posted to its website.

Needless to say, elected officials are not pleased.  Hoboken Mayor and 8th District Congressional candidate Ravi Bhalla stated, We must encourage the use of mass transportation, not discourage it.  That’s why I adamantly oppose the 15% NJ Transit rate hike.  It will hit commuters—particularly working-class commuters— hard, and put more cars back on our roads, making traffic even worse. I strongly urge all involved to prioritize alternative funding sources for NJ Transit, which is a key to meeting our climate change goals and an engine of economic growth for all throughout New Jersey.”

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, a 2025 New Jersey Gubernatorial candidates, stated, “It is just wrong. We advocated for a dedicated revenue stream of the (corporate business tax) to fix NJ Transit that regular residents would never feel. There was a solution to fix the problem that was fair and that advocates, good government groups, and some elected officials supported.”

Meanwhile, State Senator Raj Mukherji added, “We need to enact permanent codified recurring revenue sources for NJ Transit. This looming fiscal cliff is something that we have known about. We should have been planning this for years and it is unfair to our state’s commuting public that we neglect our mass transit.”

Freshman Hoboken Assemblyman John Allen stated, “Countless residents depend on NJ Transit each and every day to get to and from work, especially in urban cities like Hoboken and Jersey City. While I understand the need to generate additional revenues, it can’t be at the expense of those who depend on an affordable transportation system. I am committed to working with NJ Transit to examine other funding to balance their books, so we aren’t continuing to kick the can down the road.”

Finally, State Senator Angela McKnight of Jersey City’s 31st District added, “Six months is simply not enough time for low-income families to prepare for such a major increase to their commuting budget. New Jersey Transit’s proposed fair increase will put an undue burden on riders, especially those in urban and low-income communities across the State. It should not fall on working New Jerseyans, many of whom have no other transportation available, to make up for NJ Transit’s deficit.”

The proposed fare hikes, if approved, would be the first for NJ Transit since 2015.  The agency says “they come as a result of low pandemic-related ridership that has cost NJ Transit $2 billion in revenue to date.”

NJ Transit officials say “a $119 million budget deficit was identified last year.”.