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New Jersey Transit Pay Soars as Commuters Tapped for 9% Fare Increase


by Elise Young

With New Jersey Transit commuters facing higher fares amid a $120 million budget deficit, the agency is paying more to workers as it deals with equipment repairs and service disruptions.

Overtime at the nation’s third-biggest rail and bus operator climbed to $135.3 million last year, a 12 percent increase from 2011. During the same period, the ranks of New Jersey Transit workers paid at least $100,000 a year grew 20 percent, according to data on the state’s website. The costs were driven by service needs and emergencies, plus wages in union contracts, the agency says.

“I don’t know how you justify” higher fares, said Stephanie Dunstan, a 30-year-old Hamilton resident, as she waited on June 17 for the 6:55 a.m. train to Manhattan, where she works in insurance. “I know people who are getting raises of 2 percent, 3 percent.”