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NJ Transit will issue refunds for some tickets bought before June 1

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NJ Transit will issue refunds for some tickets bought before June 1

May 15, 2024 | 11:05 am ET
By Sophie Nieto-Munoz
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NJ Transit will issue refunds for some tickets bought before June 1
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A new policy starting July 1 will put a 30-day expiration date on all tickets, a move that angered riders who buy bus and train tickets in advance. (Photo by Edwin J. Torres/NJ Governor’s Office)

NJ Transit will offer refunds on some tickets purchased before June 1 in response to criticism of the agency’s new policy that applies 30-day expiration dates to tickets.

The refund policy, announced Wednesday, will apply to all one-way bus, train, and light rail tickets bought before June 1, and will also apply to 10-trip train tickets purchased then.

The reversal comes after lawmakers and commuters blasted the rail agency for its new expiration date policy, part of a package approved in April that included fare hikes of up to 15% starting July 1 — and a 3% increase each year after. Adding expiration dates to tickets will provide a revenue boost of tens of millions annually, the agency says.

The agency said the overwhelming majority of customers typically do not purchase more than three months of tickets in advance, but the refund option will help people who purchased tickets before the new expiration date policy was announced.

Ticket holders seeking refunds will be able to do so starting Aug. 1 and through Dec. 31.

Previously, people could buy as many transit tickets as they wanted with no worry they’d expire. Under the proposal approved by NJ Transit in April, all one-way tickets purchased after July 1 will only be valid for 30 days.

Tickets purchased in June won’t be eligible for a refund, and all one-way tickets purchased before July 1 will expire on July 31, regardless of purchase date.

“Ticket expiration policies are consistent with transit industry best practices across the country,” NJ Transit said in a statement.

The cash-strapped transit agency says that with the new fare hikes, it will close the roughly $100 million budget gap it faced for the upcoming fiscal year. But another shortfall of nearly $800 million is expected in the budget year beginning in July 2025, even considering the revenue from fare hikes.

Senate President Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) last week threatened to introduce legislation to reverse NJ Transit’s expiration date policy if the agency didn’t honor the full value of tickets purchased before the agency announced the change. On Wednesday, Scutari said he welcomes the move by the agency to refund riders.

“NJ Transit has a responsibility to respect the consumer rights of its riders by treating them fairly. If they want to sell tickets with expiration dates, it should be on the tickets or the purchasers should be informed at the time of sale. That is a reasonable expectation for any customer, including riders who rely on the services of a public transit agency,” he said.

How to request a refund 

Refunds are expected to take about three to four weeks, and will go much faster for customers who kept their receipts, the agency said in its announcement.

All mobile app tickets will be automatically converted to a full-value credit if unused by August 1.

People who bought online should print out their tickets before June 1. Instructions on how to seek a refund are included on printed tickets.

Customers with paper tickets must visit a customer service office near them with their receipts. If you don’t have receipts, you’ll be asked to provide the last four digits of the credit card used to purchase the tickets.

Customer service offices are located in Hoboken Terminal, Newark Penn Station, Secaucus Junction, Trenton Transit Center, New York Penn Station, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.