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NJ Transit Proposes Eliminating Free Travel for Non-Union Employees

The board of directors will consider whether or not to approve the matter at its Oct. 15 meeting.

NJ Transit today proposed eliminating a policy that allows unlimited free travel on rail, light rail, and bus lines for the agency's non-union employees, according to NJT Spokeswoman Nancy Snyder.

The policy, which has been in effect for thirty years, will be considered by the NJT Board of Directors at their meeting Monday, Oct. 15. If approved by the board, it will be subject to Gov. Chris Christie's veto period, Snyder said.

The change would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, resulting in non-union employees and non-union retirees no longer being able to use the transit system free-of-charge for personal purposes, according to a press release from NJT.

“Moving forward, NJ Transit must continue to sufficiently consider the interests of our fare-paying customers and taxpayers.  The organization’s travel policy must be consistent as to how our customers and taxpayers commute and travel – they pay for their expenses,” said NJT Executive Director James Weinstein in the release.

Snyder explained that the proposed change is part of an ongoing effort to implement cost cutting measures that make the agency more accountable, transparent and efficient.

"1.6 million [dollars] is estimated not to be collected with the 1,800 non-union employeers that are affected by this policy change," she said. "We understand the impact on our employees but we also must balance the fact that we have to consider our fare paying customers and tax payers."

This is not the first policy change that has been implemented regarding NJT's non-union employees.

In 2011, the vacation and sick leave policy for non-union employees was reformed so as to eliminate sick day payouts for new employees and require employees to us sick time on a first-earned, first-used basis, according to NJT. 

NJT reports that the 2011 policy change contributed to an improved on-time performance, the second-lowest budget growth in the past 15 years, and a third straight budget without a fare increase. 

Similar reforms already have eliminated free travel privileges for employees at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the NJ Turnpike Authority and the Delaware River Port Authority, according to NJT. 

Nick J October 08, 2012 at 10:29 PM
why not they charge their own mother if they could...
Good Neighbor October 08, 2012 at 11:36 PM
everyone should pay
Dave October 09, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Why shouldn't union employees pay if non-union employees don't pay for their fares? Are non-union employees less valuable than union employees? This entire proposal is a gross attempt at union abuse.
fjc0917 October 09, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Why don't they change it for the union employees also???
Garm October 09, 2012 at 12:55 PM
You're going to see a mass exodus of employees at NJT. I've heard it's become an awful place to work, zero moral and now they take away a 30 year employee perk. Nothing short of corporate suicide if you ask me.
marylou October 09, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Probably because the union employees have a binding contract.Once that contract expires,who knows what will happen?
fjc0917 October 09, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Oh well, that's life. Because it's been a perk for 30 years means the taxpayers should continue to foot the bill just because? It's a different world than it was 30 years ago!
Garm October 09, 2012 at 01:22 PM
And from what I'm hearing, they are all going to carpool to work. So much for the proposed profit margin!
rcclexplorer October 09, 2012 at 01:29 PM
People get all kinds of perks from their work. The non-union employees shouldn't have this taken away, that is why you guys should say. People who work a Macy's get a discount, don't they? Look in the mirror, none of you get a perk from your employer? Give me a break. These employees work 24 hour a day to keep the system moving, and now you want them to pay to use the very system they work on? Its a very small perk guys, I mean come on.
KS October 10, 2012 at 11:43 PM
In response to Rcclexplorer, it's not a small perk, as the article notes. It totals $1.6 million. As for the comparison to Macy's employees' perks, I don't see the comparison. Macy's employees don't get Macy's goods for free; they have to pay 70% of what consumers pay. Therefore, their 30% discount is not equivalent to free rides given yo non-union employees on NJ Transit. To comment on another point from the article, I'm outraged that all non-union RETIREES have been getting free rides all thus time. As the pool of RETIREES grows each year, that must be a huge, ever-increasing expense for NJ Transit and a substantial consideration in deciding whether to impose a fare increase on the ridership. In this increasingly competitive business climate, businesses like NJ Transit cannot continue to provide these kinds of give-always to his growing pool of RETIREES.

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