NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — NJ TRANSIT riders had their first opportunity to express their views on possible rate hikes Saturday, and many were less than thrilled.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, NJ TRANSIT held a public information session on Saturday at the New Brunswick Public Library on the possible 9 percent fare increase and the elimination of some rail and bus service.

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Natasha Smith said paying more for train service means less money in her budget for buying necessities such as groceries.

“Nine percent increase seems a bit egregious to me,” Smith said. “If you are going to do an increase, maybe you should consider doing something that keeps up with the inflation.”

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NJ TRANSIT said it has found more than $40 million in internal savings, but a $56 million hole still exists.

“We’ve looked into efficiencies thoroughly, and unfortunately, there still remains a budget cap for which we have to provide for,” said spokeswoman Nancy Snyder.

She said it is still just a proposal, with a vote not scheduled until July on changes planned for the fall.

The hearing Saturday was the first of 10 public sessions. There will be nine additional public hearings across the state beginning on Monday.

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