Three Years of PATH Upgrades Will Increase Capacity, Reduce Delays

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Path Wtc
A PATH train at the World Trade Center station in Lower Manhattan. Credit: Andy Atzert/Flickr

Just months after unveiling upgrades that included real-time train arrival screens and cell phone service in stations, the Port Authority is set to begin work on the heavily traveled PATH system in hopes of easing congestion that commuters and residents regularly face.

The Port Authority estimates that around 280,000 people use the PATH system every day and the rail connection linking Newark, Harrison, Jersey City, Hoboken, and Manhattan handled just under 82 million total riders last year. It’s those numbers that spurred the Authority to announce a $1 billion investment late last month that will add capacity, reduce delays, and put new cars in service along the system’s busiest lines.

In terms of relief that’s coming soon, both the Newark-World Trade Center and Journal Square-33rd Street lines will see a 10% increase in rush hour capacity by September this year. The Authority will be running trains three minutes apart as opposed to the current gap of four minutes between trains, which should help with overcrowding along those lines.

To be completed in 2022 following various upgrades, the Authority will be increasing rush-hour capacity by 40% on the Newark-World Trade Center line and by 20% on the system’s three other lines. This will be accomplished by putting 72 new rail cars into service the Authority has already purchased, installing a new signal system, and extending platforms in stations at Grove Street and Exchange Place to accommodate longer, nine-car trains that will run every three minutes during rush hour.

The Port Authority also has a six-point, $50 million delay reduction initiative that will repair track bed conditions throughout the system, replace 43 critical switch machines, upgrade signal software, and increase the frequency of inspections. In addition, the system’s entire train fleet will be overhauled by 2024, with 40% of those cars undergoing the work within 30 months.

A set of customer service initiatives designed to make the system more user-friendly is in the cards and there’s some good news for those seeking compatibility with New York City’s transit. PATH will be implementing a new fare payment system integrated with the MTA’s OMNY system that accepts tap-and-go payments, which is currently being operated as a pilot program. MetroCard and SmartLink methods of payment will be valid on PATH trains through 2023, at which point they will be phased out.

“The PATH Improvement Plan is a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to fixing the biggest problems facing PATH,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole in a statement. “By adding cars and trains, hitting back at the root cause of delays, and focusing on the customer experience, PATH will make monumental changes that affect the lives of the nearly 300,000 customers who rely on PATH each day.”

The Port Authority has not yet announced a timeline or any service disruptions that could take place related to the work.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Too bad all these upgrades aren’t keeping pace with the amount of development going on in JC and beyond. So it all sounds great on paper of what we might have in 2023 but i’m more concerned about 2019

  2. This is why PATH is far superior to MTA! Path always looks for ways to improve service! Trains are on time. There is a schedule on your phone. Path alerts. New modern stations. Up to date arrival estimates in station. And now preparing for more ridership due to further demand for thier service! Did I also mention that unlike the MTA, IT’S ACTUALLY CLEAN! WHICH MEANS NO RATS OR URINATION! Honestly, PATH is the way forward! Can’t wait for PATH to expend straight to the Newark airport…

    • you may actually be blind. You’ve never seen homeless bums on the Path? Never seen shit on the seats (I have ) . You’ve never seen rats on it or in their stations (I have) . Trains are on time!?

      • A couple of months ago late at night I actually saw two girls at opposite ends of the carriage one of whom puked her brains out on the floor, the other who squatted next to the door and took big long piss. The pisser I can understand because the scumbags who manage PATH won’t provide restroom facilities and when you got to go you got to go!

      • the transplant/shill Val will cheerlead almost anything on this site.
        “of course I want to see people with luggage on the Path, that means it’s being used and people love it! Who wouldn’t want that!? They can glide their luggage over the puke free floors of the Path!”

  3. I’m sure the PATH system has a maximum capacity that residential development might supersede. One would hope this plan they are implementing is attaining maximum capacity with the technology available. Otherwise it will always be under construction and searching for funding.

    The PA needs to think of other ways get people across the Hudson that can supplement PATH and buses.They should be discussing it now and not after the we get to that point.
    My pipe dream is a pedestrian/cycle/skate bridge from Jersey City to lower Manhattan or even from Hoboken to Manhattan. Also a ferry that goes from Hudson County to Brooklyn might have merit. My pipe dream doesn’t have to be part of the supplement. Unless bureaucrats are banking on trends reversing and people fleeing cities again for the suburbs as millennials age. Then they better get that NJ transit tunnel project finished.

  4. “The PATH Improvement Plan” and customer service? …………..This is a joke, right?

    And this, “PATH has not announced a timeline or any service disruptions”………….it’s like the sword of Damocles. To cure you they must kill you.

    And how great that there is no mention of a fare increase! Everything going to be just fine!

  5. New signal system? I thought that was supposed to be completed by 2020. And I thought they were already supposed to be running PTC and CBTC.

  6. Bring back the express train from Newark to WTC. That service stopped after 9/11 and the PATH should really try to bring that back

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