Gov. Murphy Promises No Fare Hikes As NJ Transit Welcomes New Engineers

Steve Burns
January 21, 2020 - 2:03 pm
Phil Murphy

Steve Burns/WCBS 880

KEARNY, N.J. (WCBS 880) — For the third year in a row, Gov. Phil Murphy wants fares to remain flat for New Jersey Transit commuters and said the service is expected to improve as new employees join the ranks.

Murphy declared NJ Transit was not broken in a day, but things are slowly improving every day.

“We can’t fix it in one day either, but we’re moving in the right direction,” he told a group of graduates.

The Democrat traveled to a NJ Transit facility in Kearny on Tuesday to congratulate a class of seven graduates, who will go on to become engineers for the troubled rail.

One student, Matthew Miller, says the training was rigorous and his class is prepared for anything.

“It's harsh and there is no room for forgiveness, mistakes or failure,” he told WCBS 880’s Steve Burns.

Murphy says little by little, NJ Transit’s engineer ranks are getting replenished and results are showing.

“On time performance is improving, cancellations are down,” Murphy said.

The railroad had previously been troubled by months of consistent train cancellations and delays due to staff shortages. Murphy blamed the previous administration for failing to keep up with the transportation system, and said customers – who pay some of the highest fares in the country – deserved better.

Because of that, he has promised to exclude fare hikes from his proposed budget, even as the agency continues to recover.

“The budget I propose, the legislature next month, will be our third budget in a row introduced with no fare hike,” Murphy said.

With the new class of graduates, NJ Transit’s rank of engineers will grow to about 350, according to CEO Kevin Corbett.

NJ Transit Graduating Class
Edwin J. Torres/Governor Murphy's Office

He says more classes are set to graduate in the next few months.

Corbett says he also has his eye on what's happening in Trenton because, while there may not be fare hikes, he says the system still needs more money.

“The different ingredients that go into making the sausage, I leave that to the Legislature and the governor’s office, as long as we get the resources,” he said.