NJ Transit audit finds shortfalls in planning, hiring and technology investment

METUCHEN, N.J. -- Key findings from a New Jersey Transit audit released today found that the agency needs to do a better job at planning for the future; and NJ Transit needs to make some major investments in technology, so workers can quickly see what's going on across the system and so customers can know when there is a problem expeditiously.

"We are not going to let this audit collect dust," said Murphy.

Governor Phil Murphy ordered this review right after taking office, then calling the rail system “a national disgrace”. Cancellations, delays and derailments continue to plague the system, but Murphy called this report a first step toward rebuilding the agency from the ground up.

“Despite New Jersey’s location and our population density, we have continually failed to get mass transit right, something that has limited our economic growth for far too long,” said Governor Murphy. “This audit is a critical step toward rebuilding NJ TRANSIT into once again being an agency our residents can count on for safe, reliable, on-time service.”

Laura Kane, a mom from Metuchen, was among those impacted when the rail line suffered a derailment on Oct. 4.

"I had to walk about 20 blocks, take two path trains, get to Newark where it was a total zoo," she said. Kane was asked to introduce the Governor today.

"I feel really good about what I heard today. And I’m glad I was here to hear it all first hand," she said.

The audit also found:

  • NJ Transit’s funding is lacking.
  • There are too many top executives at the agency and not enough employees.
  • NJ Transit's hiring and equipment procurement process is antiquated and in need of an overhaul.

The report says all of these factors impact customer satisfaction, or lack thereof, which is not hard to find on a nearby train platform to New York.

"NJ Transit is a horrible, horrible situation," said one rider. "They should improve immediately without any delay."

Murphy promised commuters that they will see real and noticeable improvements when riding NJ Transit in the future, but he said it will not happen overnight. Currently, the agency is focused on meeting a federal deadline of December 31 to install new safety technology systemwide, or they will face fines.

The audit report did not suggest any fare increases. The governor has promised to hold the line on ticket prices through at least June of next year.

You can read the full report here.

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