• Bill introduced for NJT to provide all service free during summer months

  • Discussion related to New Jersey Transit rail and light rail operations.
Discussion related to New Jersey Transit rail and light rail operations.

Moderators: lensovet, nick11a, Kaback9

  by MACTRAXX
 
amtrakowitz wrote: Tue May 10, 2022 8:56 am Very bad idea. Would have the same problems as the former free New Year's Eve trains, with passengers getting assaulted and robbed.
Amtrakowitz - In fairness those free New Year's Eve programs were back in the middle 1980s...
I believe that it was done twice and because of the problems encountered during a holiday known for
drinking and partying this was not repeated. The LIRR as example offered free rides at the same time
period and what was encountered were passengers that instead of going to parties and other events
stayed onboard the trains - there were problems with vandalism to equipment an example of what
happened when the New Year's Eve "party" destination ended up being on board the trains...

Another 80s era NJT New Year's Eve program was to charge minimal fares of $1 and $2 depending on distance
as another anti-drunk driving incentive - that made more sense and there were less problems...

Everyone - When I first read this bill my first thought was "How is NJT going to pay for this?"
Giving a significant discount incentive on fares is a good idea to encourage ridership - NJT does need
revenue to keep service going - and I agree that gas prices in the vicinity of $5/gallon will help NJT...
MACTRAXX
  by JohnFromJersey
 
MACTRAXX wrote: Tue May 10, 2022 11:20 pm Everyone - When I first read this bill my first thought was "How is NJT going to pay for this?"
Giving a significant discount incentive on fares is a good idea to encourage ridership - NJT does need
revenue to keep service going - and I agree that gas prices in the vicinity of $5/gallon will help NJT...
MACTRAXX
Maybe it would be a good idea if NJT wasn't having a ton of service and financial woes, but that's not the case.

Is it really a discount if it's free? You still pay for a discount of some sort...

You're just pushing NJT's financial woes more and more on the taxpayers. The summer is always when gas prices are highest in NJ (and the nation) - after summer they usually go back down quite a bit. If they go below 3-4 dollars (somehow), people will go back to using their cars when NJT "suddenly" goes back to its usual prices.

Reducing fairs by half and/or giving free fares on weekends and holidays, instead of all the time? That would probably be better than 100% starving NJT from ticket revenue during some of their busiest use.
  by lensovet
 
MNR/LIRR weekday ridership is still 60% of pre-pandemic levels.

Pretty sure this is a way to get people back into trains. Having no fares to collect for three months is nothing if it gets you back to 100% ridership for the next 10 years.
  by JohnFromJersey
 
lensovet wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 11:22 am MNR/LIRR weekday ridership is still 60% of pre-pandemic levels.

Pretty sure this is a way to get people back into trains. Having no fares to collect for three months is nothing if it gets you back to 100% ridership for the next 10 years.
As you and I have discussed in another thread, a lot of people don't feel comfortable being in crowded areas for long periods of time, like trains, without masks. I'd imagine that issue would be even worse if all the trains are free and jam-packed.

We're still not out of the pandemic, as seen by people driving more and taking public transportation less. This is a big gamble; what if the services are free, and the ridership numbers are still the same? Now NJT has about 3 months of complete losses and no revenue of any sort, for nothing.

I'm not saying in theory this is a bad idea, but in reality, NJT has had horrible service and staffing issues recently, and public transit in the tri-state area has seen some pretty intense crime spikes. We all know NJT most likely won't run more trains/busses nor have more security/police on transit if this goes through, and combine that with a spike in ridership, you're going to have some interesting issues occur. If even more safety issues occur from the free trains and busses, on top of people being cautious about public transit due to health concerns, this could chase people away from using NJT.

If NJT was trying their damndest and didn't have half the issues we see today (that have also been around since before the pandemic), I'd say maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to attract new riders. I'd hope that if this goes through, they run more trains and have more security staff, but if they are being starved of any revenue for 3 months, I seriously doubt they will even bother.
  by WashingtonPark
 
This bill requires 1.5 billion dollars to be moved from the general fund to the treasury. A payment of 150 million dollars to NJT and a 400 dollar rebate for everybody that owns a non-commercial vehicle and filed a NJ tax return up to two vehicles. Does this thing really have a chance of passing?
  by eolesen
 
lensovet wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 11:22 am Pretty sure this is a way to get people back into trains.
Maybe, but I don't think people are avoiding trains because of the fares. Free train fare isn't going to solve all the other reasons people have for not heading into the city.
  by Bracdude181
 
On the coast line at least, people are avoiding the train because of poor service. Breakdowns, Police Activity, and other miscellaneous issues are now also extremely common, happening at least once a day.
  by JohnFromJersey
 
Bracdude181 wrote: Thu May 12, 2022 4:52 pm On the coast line at least, people are avoiding the train because of poor service. Breakdowns, Police Activity, and other miscellaneous issues are now also extremely common, happening at least once a day.
I go to a gym that is right next to one of the stations on the Coastline. I've only seen police activity involving the train once or twice in the last 6-12 months - is it a bigger trend?
  by Bracdude181
 
The police activity stuff happens mainly in Perth Amboy, South Amboy, and sometimes Long Branch. Especially South Amboy for some reason. Lots of drug searches…

The reliability of the Coast Lines service is poor right now though. Trains are almost always late, train breakdowns/mechanical issues are common, drawbridges are getting jammed in the upwards position more often, crossings are malfunctioning more often, etc.
  by scratchyX1
 
Bracdude181 wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 1:05 am The police activity stuff happens mainly in Perth Amboy, South Amboy, and sometimes Long Branch. Especially South Amboy for some reason. Lots of drug searches…

The reliability of the Coast Lines service is poor right now though. Trains are almost always late, train breakdowns/mechanical issues are common, drawbridges are getting jammed in the upwards position more often, crossings are malfunctioning more often, etc.
The Jersey Shore cast causing meyhem? Who could have foreseen that?
  by Tom V
 
I totally don't get this every one for free, but I did start a thread a few months back regarding SEPTA's Senior pass which is free to all Senior Citizens.

https://www.septa.org/fares/discount/se ... -info.html

I think NJ Transit, and Port Authority for PATH and EWR Airtrain, should enact something similar. Free NJ Transit Bus/Rail/Light Rail etc.. to everyone 65 and over. I would also include disabled Veterans into the program.
  by eolesen
 
Illinois did a Seniors Ride Free program and people got pissed off that it largely benefited a bunch of executives, lawyers and bankers who were commuting from their horse properties and estates that were 30+ miles away from the City... the program without an income threshold was said to be costing the agencies over $35M at the farebox.

They've since reintroduced an income barrier of $27K for singles and $36K for couples in order to qualify for free rides.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by MACTRAXX
 
Tom V - Remember that SEPTA's Senior Citizen program is funded by revenues from the **Pennsylvania Lottery**
- which primarily benefits Senior Citizens - PA has one of the largest percentages of older citizens in the US -
and the Senior Lobby in PA has obvious clout in PA politics...

As EO mentions there were loopholes in the Illinois Senior Citizen program that allowed some well-to-do people
to take advantage of a program that they really did not need - and could readily afford to pay already reasonable
METRA Senior Citizen fares - enacting a cap of $27 thousand/year for single and 36 thousand/year for couples is
a good compromise for those older people either retired or surviving on fixed incomes...

New Jersey Transit - as I have mentioned in the past - already offers Senior Citizen discounts for anyone over 62
that is a substantial savings over regular rail and bus fares...The PA of NY and NJ giving free rides? No Way!!!

Any program - may it be for Senior Citizens or this long-term Free Ride program - has to be funded and paid
for somehow - NJ taxpayers are going to have to fund any loss of revenue to NJT unless there is a substantial
Federal money or grants to pay for any new program(s) such as these...In the case of NJT Senior Citizen fares
I feel that it pays to leave "well enough" alone...MACTRAXX
  by lensovet
 
Tom V wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 12:27 pm I totally don't get this every one for free, but I did start a thread a few months back regarding SEPTA's Senior pass which is free to all Senior Citizens.

https://www.septa.org/fares/discount/se ... -info.html

I think NJ Transit, and Port Authority for PATH and EWR Airtrain, should enact something similar. Free NJ Transit Bus/Rail/Light Rail etc.. to everyone 65 and over. I would also include disabled Veterans into the program.
Hell, I just wish NJT had passes for seniors. Why on earth should old people have to pay with exact change to get their discount on buses? Buses that don't even accept modern forms of payments like debit cards or apple pay ffs.