The question is whether their pay running an agency that Gov. Phil Murphy called a "national disgrace" is worth the headaches, when compared to what others get paid at transit systems elsewhere.
But an examination of NJ Transit salaries by NJ Advance Media, obtained through a public records request, shows that the pay of top executives in charge of the troubled commuter rail line is actually less than what their counterparts are paid at transit agencies on the other side of the Hudson and the Delaware Rivers.
At the same time, a number of former NJ Transit officials who have left the agency in recent years have found that the grass is indeed greener on the other side of the tracks.
In terms of its size, NJ Transit is in the middle of other major rails serving this part of the country. It is larger than Philadelphia's Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and smaller than the massive Metropolitan Transportation Authority, that runs New York City subways, buses and the Long Island and Metro North commuter railroads.
SEPTA's general manager Jeffrey Knueppel, though, was paid $298,012 in 2017—more than NJ Transit's executive director.
NJ Transit's former executive director Veronique Hakim's salary increased to $325,600 when she crossed the river and went to work for New York's MTA , according to the SeeThroughNY data base. She earned $261,324 when she left NJ Transit in December 2015.
MTA salaries overall were higher for managing that supersized organization. The exception was MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota, the agency's top official who receives a nominal one-dollar annual salary, said Aaron Donovan, an MTA spokesman.
Here is what NJ Transit senior executives, as listed in their annual report, made last year.
(Some executives have retired or moved on since 2017.)