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.