NJ Transit's non-union employees will no longer be granted free travel on the agency's rail, light rail and bus lines as of Jan. 2013.
According to NJT Spokeswoman Nancy Snyder, the board of directors voted Monday to approve the elimination of the 30-year-old policy. The change will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
The policy allowed non-union employees and non-union retirees to use the transit system free-of-charge for personal purposes, according to a press release from NJT. Under the new policy, free travel for non-union employees will only be granted for work.
Snyder explained that the change is part of an ongoing effort to implement cost cutting measures that make the agency more accountable, transparent and efficient.
"1.6 million [dollars] is estimated not to be collected with the 1,800 non-union employeers that are affected by this policy change," she said on Oct. 8. "We understand the impact on our employees but we also must balance the fact that we have to consider our fare paying customers and tax payers."
The change will not impact union employees.
This is not the first policy change that has been implemented regarding NJT's non-union employees.
In 2011, the vacation and sick leave policy for non-union employees was reformed so as to eliminate sick day payouts for new employees and require employees to use sick time on a first-earned, first-used basis, according to NJT.
NJT reports that the 2011 policy change contributed to an improved on-time performance, the second-lowest budget growth in the past 15 years, and a third straight budget without a fare increase.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the NJ Turnpike Authority and the Delaware River Port Authority have already eliminated free travel privileges for employees, according to NJT.