NEW JERSEY — New Jersey Transit, dealing with a massive drop in ridership at the COVID-19 outbreak continues, followed in the MTA' s footsteps Thursday and asked for funding from the federal government.
The agency anticipates a more than $1.25 billion impact between revenue loss and coronavirus expenses, NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett wrote in a letter to members of the New Jersey Congressional delegation.
"New Jerseyans are staying home, heeding the messages of President Trump and Governor Murphy," Corbett wrote. "They are staying off the roads and they are staying off transit. But because of this necessary step, NJ TRANSIT has seen a dramatic 88 percent reduction in system-wide ridership since Monday, March 9th."
April is coming and, normally, riders would soon purchase new monthly passes. NJ Transit expects far fewer people to purchase passed.
"The financial toll to NJ TRANSIT is and, from all indicators, will continue to be extraordinary and beyond anything experienced in our company’s history," Corbett wrote.
While ridership is down, costs are up. The enhanced cleaning procedures started at the onset of the outbreak require disinfections on vehicles every 24 hours and at major stations and terminals on each shift throughout the day, Corbett said.
"We cannot overcome the unprecedented financial burden this national emergency has created on our own," Corbett wrote. "Emergency federal funding is required, so that current programs for capital projects and state of good repair funding are not cannibalized, at the expense of system safety and operations."