NEWARK, NJ -- NJ Transit's Board of Directors today unanimously voted a 9 percent rate increase, its first in five years, that will take effect in October 2015.

Commuters and employees were quick to criticize the decision.

"Unfortunately, there really is no alternative, so it's very frustrating that they're raising fares," said Bill Glastal, a Fanwood resident who commutes into New York City on NJ Transit.

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Martin Robins, Director Emeritus of the Alan M Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University and a trustee of the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, is concerned about the 9% increase for an entirely different reason.

"This increase forecasts serious problems for NJ Transit's fiscal year 2016-17 operating budget, as this was historically paid for from New Jersey's general fund. The contribution is now 90% less than it was a few years ago," said Robins. "Additionally, $300 million of NJ Transit's budget currently comes from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, and there are no assurances that it will continue. This uncertainty over funding sources is very worrisome."

NJ Transit officials have looked to cut costs and wanted to keep the increase to single digits. The train and bus line's budget totals nearly $2 billion.