A strong pushback is planned by a coalition of 14 groups in New Jersey who oppose New Jersey Transit's proposed 9 percent fare hikes and service cuts.  

A woman rushes to catch a NJ Transit train from New York Penn Station to Trenton (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Janna Chernetz, Tri-State Transportation Campaign's senior New Jersey policy analyst  said the coalition, known as New Jersey for Transit, represents several organizations.

"There is a diverse array of organizations represented," Chernetz said.

"Transit needs to be affordable for both those who rely on public transportation to commute to and from work, and also for the 11 percent of New Jersey residents who do not have access to a vehicle, that rely on transit for their everyday commuting needs, whether it is to go to work, to go to the grocery store or to doctor's appointments," Chernetz said.

Groups included in the coalition are: AAA New Jersey, The Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers, Environment New Jersey, New Jersey Amalgamated Transit Union, New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, New Jersey Citizen Action, The New Jersey Commuters Action Network, New Jersey Policy Perspective, New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, New Jersey Sierra Club and New Jersey Working Families.

"Transit plays a vital role in New Jersey's economy and the way of life for those who live in New Jersey," Chernetz said.

She said the transportation funding structure in New Jersey is broken. According to Chernetz, there is inadequate funding for the Transportation Trust Fund which is the state source of funding for capital programs for the New Jersey Department of Transportation and NJ Transit, as well as funding for an adequate state subsidy for New Jersey transit's operating budget.

New Jersey Transit has scheduled a series of nine public hearings on the fare hikes. New Jersey for Transit plans to have representation at each of these meetings.

"We will have a coalition presence at every coming hearing for the proposed fare hikes, and you will certainly continue to see our presence after the fare hikes in order to propel the state forward in coming to some resolution for the Transportation Trust Fund," Chernetz said.

The public hearings on New Jersey Transit's fare increase proposals run from May 16-21.   The first hearing is Saturday at the New Brunswick Public Library from 1 to 4 p.m.

In addition to appearing in person, members of the public also may submit comments via mail to: Public Hearing Office - Fare Proposal Comments, One Penn Plaza East, Newark, NJ 07105 or online at www.njtransit.com.