NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – NJ TRANSIT said it’s looking at fare hikes and service cuts to close a budget gap.

NJ TRANSIT riders could soon be paying 9 percent more on average for their commute, under a new proposal, CBS2’s Diane Macedo reported.

The plan unveiled Monday aims to close a $60 million budget gap with fare increases on both trains and buses. It would also eliminate two late night Hoboken trains and make cuts to six bus routes.

As Macedo reported, it would be the first time in five years the agency has increased fares.

NJ TRANSIT officials say the proposal follows several cost-cutting measures, including a hiring freeze, increased vehicle efficiency and overtime reductions, but that simply wasn’t enough.

Some commuters don’t agree with the proposed hike.

“The service is pretty bad, and now they’re asking for a raise,” said Monica Sheehen, of Linden. “I think that’s terribly unfair.”

“Their service doesn’t really justify a 9 percent increase,” said commuter Amber O’Connor.

“How are they going to increase our fare and then cut services?” commuter Jake Buffamante said. “That doesn’t make sense. Because I’m an early rider and a late comeback, so that’s hurting me also.”

“I took Metro-North for 10 years, and on its worst day, it was better than this,” Liz told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck at the Ramsey stop. “Customer service has been pretty bad of late, lack of communication when there are train delays, overcrowding on trains. We have some really good conductors, but there are some really bad conductors.”

Some say the agency should explore more options.

“It should come out of the state revenues and maybe take a little money away from the roads and maybe increase the gas tax,” said Alan Stahl, who commutes to Princeton.

Macedo did find one rider who says the hikes should be expected.

“A lot of things are going up, and transit is one of them,” said Michelle McQueen, who commutes from Queens.

John Wisniewski, who chairs the state Assembly’s Transportation Committee, said it a statement: “These latest proposed hikes are emblematic of a larger problem plaguing this administration — a complete lack of foresight when it comes to public transportation planning.  The administration’s borrow-and-tax approach is hurting those who can least afford it.”

Veronica Vanterpool, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, suggested the state explore increasing the gas tax instead, adding, “With the various funding options on the table, it is inexcusable to stick the bill to NJ Transit users.”

Both critics and supporters will get their chance to be heard.

NJ TRANSIT has announced it will hold nine scheduled public hearings and one information session on the issue beginning Saturday, May 16, before the Board of Directors considers the proposal July 8.

“We would encourage people to attend the public hearings on this issue,” an agency spokesperson told Macedo. “We want to hear from them. This is just a proposal at this point.”

If approved, the proposed service cuts would go into effect in September and fare increases would take effect in October.