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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order on Jan. 22 ordering a full-scale audit of New Jersey Transit. 

The chair of the NJ Transit Board was instructed by the order to engage independent consultants to recommend strategy optimization. The ultimate goal is to “create a world-class transportation corporation” by engaging outside input on operations. The order stated that “the selection process and review shall be conducted as expeditiously as possible.”

The executive order included a call for the review to look into NJ Transit funding, current leadership structure, hiring protocols, and relationship with Amtrak. These changes are intended to make NJ Transit safer, cheaper, and more efficient, with an emphasis on upgrading the system and keeping it maintained.

The order also seeks to make NJ Transit better for its customers in general by taking a closer look at “technology improvements that can be made to its mobile application, reporting of performance to the public, [and] the physical infrastructure of stations, platforms, and cars.”

The report comes as a response to New Jersey Transit’s rising fares, as well as numerous concerns with its overall infrastructure and general safety. Last September, a man was caught in the path of a NJ Transit train west of Newark Broad Street Station, and a week later another individual was struck by a train at Princeton Junction station. Another man was struck and killed by an NJ Transit train near the Summit station in Chatham last July

“New Jerseyans should not have to constantly worry about whether they can make it to their jobs on time because of train delays or whether their personal safety will be imperiled while traveling on NJ Transit,” said the order.

Reforming the NJ Transit system was one of the major parts of Murphy’s platform when running for governor. Now that he holds the position, he plans to attempt to improve the system that he claims former governor Chris Christie “neglected.”

“Governor Christie’s mismanagement of the NJ Transit has wrecked what was once a national leading transit agency.  The quality of service has declined even as fares keep rising — and too many people feel unsafe simply by riding the train,” Murphy wrote on his website. “People’s jobs and businesses depend upon a safe and reliable transit network. We must do better, and when I am governor, we will.”

The order is set to take effect immediately, with the review and selection of independent consultants to be done as quickly as possible.

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