Rising fuel costs have big implications for state’s public transportation

TRENTON – The woes of the rising price of fuel are not lost on the state’s public transportation authority.

Despite reassuring Assembly lawmakers today that there will be no fare increase over the next fiscal year, James Weinstein, executive director of NJ Transit, said managing labor costs and fuel expenses remain a big concern for the agency.

And there’s a big reason for that.

Every time the price of fuel increases by one cent, the NJ Transit budget grows by $370,000, Weinstein said in his testimony before the Budget Committee.

NJ Transit staff has been reduced by attrition and “departments … are effectively managing labor costs by both strategically evaluating positions and tasks,” Weinstein said.

The executive director said NJ Transit buses have been retrofitted with different filters which allow them to run on lower-grade fuel during winter months. Additionally, the agency has limited the amount of times that buses and trains are idling to help offset the cost of rising fuel.

“We have been, and continue, to look for ways to do more with less,” Weinstein said.

Earlier Story:

No fare increase at NJ Transit