Action Alert: Give NJ Transit Commuters a Voice

NJT-board-petitionNew Jersey Transit riders deserve and voice and a vote on the NJ Transit Board of Directors. If a bill (S2804) sponsored by State Senators Ray Lesniak and Nick Saccco passes, it would achieve just that.

On Monday, Senator Lesniak unveiled a petition asking Garden State residents and commuters to show support for this much needed change in the current make-up of transit agency’s board. S2804, which was introduced in March, has been steadily moving through the state legislature and could see a full vote in the senate as early as next week.

If passed, this bill will fill a void on NJ Transit’s Board of Directors. While the current law says that at least one member of the board is required to be a regular transit rider, NJ Transit’s website does not indicate which member that is, and no current or past board member has ever been specifically designated the transit-riding member (although NJ Transit spokesperson Nancy Snyder said board member Flora Castillo is a regular rider of the 319 bus).

The entire voting membership of the current NJ Transit board, which has gone 12 years without a dissenting vote on its record, recently voted in favor of the 9 percent fare hikes and service cuts despite overwhelming opposition from riders. The only dissent came from Ray Greaves, the board’s only non-voting member.

The mission of New Jersey Transit is to “provide safe, reliable, convenient and cost-effective transit service with a skilled team of employees, dedicated to our customers’ needs and committed to excellence.” Given the recent fare increase — the fifth since 2002 –coupled with the disastrous daily commutes post hike approval, you’d have a hard time finding a rider who thinks NJ Transit is adhering to that mission, especially the “reliable, convenient and cost-effective” part.

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