New Jersey Public Transit: It Should be Free!

Image credit: Jason Smith / Creative Commons

As August began in New Jersey, we were once again forced to pay for transit.

Since late March, as the pandemic spread, and New Jersey Transit bus drivers realized how vulnerable they and their passengers were to COVID-19, riders were allowed to get on buses through the back door and, wait for it… ride for free! For these past four months, riders have actually been given a break from paying to go to jobs they probably don’t like, and don’t get paid enough to do.

But on August 1, after having finally installed plastic protective panes between the drivers and the fare box, the fares came back! We pay $1.65 per trip, $3.30 round trip, on buses where a virus might still be present, and with fewer seats than ever (since the 4-6 closest to the driver are still chained off). This situation is still not safe for the passengers, but the fare is once again required!

For four months, we got a glimpse of how things COULD be different!

We COULD have free transportation for all! But that’s not how the capitalists want it. They not only want to exploit our labor for their profit – they want us to pay for our own unsafe transportation on the way there!

Let’s change this system. Let’s make a new world, where “the public” actually matters!