As someone who has had first hand experience of a train breaking down before South Amboy when trying to enjoy a nice day at the beach (it was the 1st gen ALP46) causing a 2 hour delay, I second that NJT's equipment woes are sources for fodder against NJT, deterring riders. They should never have collected our fares. And you hope not to have an inexperienced, overachieving "Gen Z'er" who doesn't know what good service is vs bad and still collect tickets in these situations.
Anyway, when running any type of promotion, you can't assume every rider results in "x" amount of "lost revenue," as you never know how many people were attracted by the discount fares in the first place. It's like the DD Perks App. I would never buy their new $5 sandwiches if they did not provide a free beverage reward for you to try it out. And making the "free beverage" probably costs the store no more than 50 cents, and they got their $5 they never would have had otherwise.
I certainly feel NJT can do better at encouraging more riders, and it can be done in a number of ways, discounted "round trip" tickets, esp on low ridership lines or by time of day, and by expanding free parking, or enhancing their schedules. At these gas prices, the trips I usually make are just beginning to break even (including depreciation, maintenance etc). That does not bode well when gas is and becomes cheaper.
DANGER - DO NOT GET OFF MOVING TRAIN