Eying some $1.6 million in potential additional revenues, NJ Transit (NJT) could eliminate a 30-year-old policy that allows unlimited free travel on rail, light rail and bus lines for current and retired non-union employees.
The change, which will be considered at the Oct. 15 meeting of the NJT Board of Directors would take effect Jan. 1, 2013, said spokeswoman Nancy Snyder, unless Gov. Chris Christie opts to veto it.
“Moving forward, NJ Transit must continue to sufficiently consider the interests of our fare-paying customers and taxpayers,” said NJT Executive Director James Weinstein in a statement. "The organization’s travel policy must be consistent as to how our customers and taxpayers commute and travel—they pay for their expenses."
Snyder explained that the proposed change is part of an ongoing cost-cutting effort to make the agency more accountable, transparent and efficient.
"$1.6 million is estimated not to be collected with the 1,800 non-union employees that are affected by this policy change," Snyder 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 taxpayers," she said.
This is not the first policy change that NJT non-union employees have faced.
In 2011, their vacation and sick leave policy was reformed to eliminate sick-day payouts for new employees and require employees to use sick time on a first-earned, first-used basis, according to NJT.
NJT reports that that 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 Authorities of New York and New Jersey, the NJ Turnpike Authority and the Delaware River Port Authority, according to NJT.