Audit of New Jersey Transit Highlights Problems to Address
Governor Phil Murphy recently released an audit of New Jersey Transit, the state's beleaguered transit system. Patrick McGeehan reports on five major issues discussed in the report, along with recommendations for improvement.
"From one annual state budget to the next, New Jersey Transit leaders never knew where they would get enough money to run their existing service, much less make investments for the future," says McGeehan. The audit recommended creating an office to develop the agency's vision and a plan to oversee its resources.
The agency has also had trouble hiring and retaining employees, particularly engineers. The audit recommended updating and improving the hiring process.
Maintaining equipment has also been a problem, says McGeehan. The report suggested revamping the system for managing inventory and purchasing equipment.
The audit also noted that New Jersey Transit does not effectively communicate with its customers about delays and other system problems. Information is often inconsistent and not disseminated to all the staff. "The consultants suggested that the agency use social media to try to turn around negative impressions of its performance," says McGeehan.
The agency's financial situation was another concern. The audit suggested ways to increase revenue without fare increases. "Among the ideas the report discussed were finding new sources of revenue, such as the development of real estate around New Jersey Transit train stations and other properties; selling more advertising around its stations; and proposing taxes or fees on ride-hailing apps, like Uber, that could generate funds for transit," reports McGeehan.