WOODBRIDGE, N.J. (CBS 2) — Less than a year after signing off on a 25-percent fare hike, NJ Transit is moving to privatize parking lots at stations from Bergen to Essex to Monmouth Counties, Kathryn Brown reports.

“I think it’s not right. I’m already fed up with NJ Transit as it is,” said Curtis Briggs of Rahway. “The rate is too high. It’s already too much now.”

This move could mean rates will increase and commuters are not happy to hear about yet another expense. “John Q. Public is not stupid. We’re aware of what is going on. Don’t feed us rhetoric. Feed us the truth,” said Mary Manduva of Edison.

Other agencies that have privatized parking have seen their rates rise 300-percent or more. Under the current proposal, NJ Transit would lease its parking lots out to a private firm.

Overcrowded lots would get more spaces but rates would likely would increase. Free lots would likely begin charging.

“In this kind of economy we don’t want that,” said Sanjeee Verma of Edison.

NJ Transit has a $100 million budget gap. Some commuters said they’re willing to fork over a few extra dollars a month to avoid major service cuts on the rails.

“If it means making up someplace else for a deficiency maybe $2, $3, $5 more a month, that’s a nominal increase,” said Frank Wharton of Woodbridge.

A spokesman for NJ Transit said in a statement that “It’s critical that we pursue innovative ways to improve parking for customers while addressing the growing cost of operating parking facilities and undertaking cost saving measures.”

If approved, parking lots could be privatized by late next year.

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