Remember that big fare hike that was approved by New Jersey Transit earlier this summer? Unfortunately, it goes into effect today.

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

Those riding NJ Transit buses and trains will now pay about 9 percent more for their commute. According to NJ Transit spokesperson Nancy Snyder, the fare hike was unavoidable.

“During the last 5 year costs have steadily risen for things such as contract services as well as for employee healthcare benefits, general liability insurance and workers compensation," she said.

Snyder said the agency made $41 million in spending cuts, but still had to close a $60 billion budget gap.

“For instance, we cut scheduled overtime costs by more than $5 million,” she said. “We had fuel savings and other cost efficiencies as well. NJ Transit continues to work to identify every reasonable cost efficiency, while pursuing new and efficient ways to generate more revenue, including advertising, real estate.”

She said if travelers have any comments or suggestions, they’re welcome to submit them.

“They can contact us on our website, that’s www.njtransit.com,” she said. “Go to 'Contact Us' and go to 'Customer Services' offices and we have an online contact form there.”

Janna Chernetz, the senior New Jersey Policy analyst for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, doesn’t think the fare hike can be justified. She said the Garden State has a transportation funding crisis that’s being ignored – the TTF is almost completely broke with no funding mechanism in sight.

“New Jersey transit riders are asked to spend more on their fares just to keep the same service that is not adequate,” Chernetz said, adding that even before the latest increase, “New Jersey transit riders already pay the highest fares in the nation.”

She said out transit fares are outpacing inflation by 25 percent in New Jersey, and the gas tax has remained the same since 1988, so the situation is very unfair.