PATH to restore Newark-WTC overnight connection tonight


Weekday overnight PATH service between Newark and the World Trade Center stop will resume operations this evening, Port Authority announced today. With this resumption of overnight service, PATH’s weekday overnight service offerings have returned to pre-Sandy levels, three months after the storm swept through the region. Exchange Place and the WTC station will be closed throughout February from 10 p.m. Fridays through 5 a.m. Mondays as crews work to restore weekday service between Hoboken and the WTC and full weekend service.

Meanwhile, last week, Ted Mann profiled the challenges facing PATH in an excellent article in The World Street Journal. PATH has leaned heavily on manual operations and jury-rigged signal systems as well as assistance from New Jersey Transit and the MTA to restore its infrastructure. As Mann notes, a large portion of the PATH system was within the Sandy flood zone. “If I had parts of system that were not affected, yeah, it’d be easier to bring those back, but virtually all of my system was damaged,” Acting PATH Director Stephen Kingsberry said.

While reading Mann’s article and watching PATH and the MTA approach their respective rebuilding efforts, I’ve often wondered if it makes sense to have two distinct agencies responsible to entirely different oversight bodies. While PATH spans two states, it is an integral part of the New York Metropolitan area, and hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyians and New Yorkers rely on PATH to travel across the Hudson. As the region recovers from the storm, perhaps a second look at how PATH operates in relation to the rest of the region’s transit network should become a louder part of the discussion.

Categories : Asides, PANYNJ

47 Responses to “PATH to restore Newark-WTC overnight connection tonight”

  1. Gary says:

    I’d like to have a conversation about integrating PATH & NYC Subway operations, and a parallel discussion on integrating commuter rail across the region.

    • Someone says:

      I’d like to have that conversation. Unfortunately, PATH has to abide by FRA freight train rules, so it cannot be integrated into the NYCS.

      • PATH has a waiver from all the FRA regs that matter. Of all the obstacles to integration, this is probably the most surmountable.

        • Bill says:

          Which obstacles are the most insurmountable? I presume some entity, (New York State, New York City) would have to purchase the system from the Port Authority. Is there even a precedent for that?

          • Someone says:

            Well, New York City Transit is going to have to purchase it from the PANYNJ, which could cost billions.

            Of all the insurmountable obstacles, there’s the fact that the loading gauge of PATH trains vary from those of both the A and B divisions.

            • Nyland8 says:

              This is not an obstacle at all. There’s no reason the subsumed PATH system couldn’t operate as a stand alone C division.

              • Someone says:

                But the C division would have to have completely different rolling stock, signals, equipment, train crews, etc. That in itself is a huge obstacle, not to mention the fact that the train unions for the PATH and NYCS are not the same.

                • Nyland8 says:

                  No. It already has all the rolling stock and equipment it needs. It’s called the PATH system. It has already been in operation for decades. It’s a C division tied up with a bow.

                  And the union is even less of an issue than that. Unions merge all the time. They did when the BRT/BMT, IRT and IND unions merged and created the Transport Workers Union of America in 1934. They did when the Transit police union merged with the NYPD just a few years ago.

                  The only true obstacle is the political will to see it done. Once that exists, everything else falls into place.

                  • Someone says:

                    It’s also called “CBTC installation is happening on the PATH very soon, so the C division won’t be able to interoperate with any NYCS services.”

                    • Literally none of these things you mentioned are problems that require anything more than a little bit of will and creativity. None.

                    • Someone says:

                      And a lot of money. A lot.

                    • Nyland8 says:

                      You seem to have a blind spot about the concept of a C Division. It doesn’t have to interoperate with anything else. Just like B Division equipment can’t interoperate on A Division lines.

                      And who’s to say it would cost anything?

    • Bruce M says:

      I wish they could at least integrate the fare structure. It is ridiculous that I need to carry around two metrocards: a monthly unlimited for the subway, and a pay-per-use card for PATH for the occasions when I need to cross the Hudson.

  2. lawhawk says:

    PATH hasn’t returned to pre-Sandy levels. NWK to WTC may be back to pre-Sandy levels, but HOB-WTC is still inoperative and wont be back until March at the earliest. They’ve got parts on order that are expected in at the end of February. The parts are to replace those that were decades old and were irreparably damaged by flooding in Hoboken.

  3. Marcus says:

    Unfortunately, PATH’s weekday service is not at pre-Sandy levels yet…the route from Hoboken to WTC is still closed.

  4. scott says:

    when will wtc-newark be running back to normal on the weekends? transfering is a bit of a pain

  5. Someone says:

    I thought the PATH was open between Hoboken and WTC…

    This isn’t related, but is the NWK-WTC extension to Newark Airport (from Newark Penn Station) still being considered?

    • Scott E says:

      Hoboken-WTC is not restored. To make that trip, one has to go from Hoboken to Christopher Street, then take the JSQ train to Grove Street, then take the WTC train to WTC. Yes, they cross the Hudson River three times…

      • Or just, you know, transfer to the subway at Christopher St. and take the 1 train to Chambers or Rector!

        • lawhawk says:

          Or, the cheaper route (if you’re coming to Hoboken via NJT) is to take the HBLR to Exchange Place and PATH to WTC (the NWK to WTC line). Free transfers for NJ Transit monthly users. And reduces the need to travel uptown to come back down.

  6. alek says:

    Ben, it a off topic from this post:

    Reminder tonight Broadway Fastrack makes it debut on the N,Q,R lines

    I’m curious to see if this fastrack is going be tough on the straphangers since it will affect Queens and Manhattan also part Downtown Brooklyn too.

  7. Andrew Smith says:

    Path isn’t just a tool for getting the people of New Jersey to Manhattan anymore. It also serves a lot of New Yorkers who work in Jersey. There are a lot of jobs in Jersey City — which is something like the twelfth largest office market in the country — and a fair number in Newark.

  8. Eric F says:

    The point about the two systems being candidates for merger underscores the differences between the public and private sectors. The whale most certainly would have swallowed the minnow years ago in the latter case.

  9. Nyland8 says:

    Thanks for provoking this discussion, Benjamin.

    Simply put, the Port Authority should not be in the business of running a subway. The Port Authority – any port authority – exists for the purpose of regulating freight. It’s only by a cruel twist of fate that the PA owns and operates the PATH System.

    It goes without saying that the MetroNorth, NJTransit and Amtrak trains run in and out of NYC without coming under any PA purview. And with enough political will, the PATH can be subsumed into the NYC Subway system with the stroke of a pen. It needn’t cost anything.

    All that is required is for both Albany and Trenton to have the will to divest the PA of an entity it shouldn’t have control of in the first place. And that only requires making it clear that, to the Port Authority, the PATH is an unwanted appendage – a vestigial tail – that increases the size of its bureaucracy, draws its resources and distracts from its core mandate of regulating interstate and international commerce.

    The Port Authority should have built a cross harbor freight tunnel generations ago. Maybe if we take away its train set, it might finally be about the business it was created for in the first place.

    And then the decisions about subway expansion might take on the regional perspective it should have – getting cars off the roads by expanding service to the areas of highest population density.

  10. John-2 says:

    New Jersey of course would want a continued say in PATH’s operations, were it to be taken over by the MTA. But NJT and the MTA already have a joint operating agreement for Metro-North trains to Port Jervis, and the MTA and the State of Connecticut have their agreement on operation of the New Haven.

    So it could be done, though given PATH’s other jurisdictions and different union contracts/work rules, lots of other things would also have to be ironed out, if if the system is never integrated into the rest of the MTA’s subway system.

    • Nyland8 says:

      Curiously, the one place PATH might be integrated into the MTA’s subway system is by connecting it to the SIR. Since the PATH already has plans to expand down to Newark Airport, it wouldn’t take much to run it a few stops further, cross the Arthur Kill and connect it to the fallow section of the Staten Island Railway.

      The Staten Island Rapid Transit map of 1952 shows it going out to Rahway, Linden … all the way out to Cranford NJ.

      Plenty of population density, most of the ROWs already exist, and it would be the shortest distance in time and money to finally connecting the last borough by subway to Manhattan. And the retrofit for the SIR might involve nothing more than widening the station platforms.

      Then the whole SIR/PATH hybrid could become the C Division.

  11. Corey Best says:

    Why do you New Yorkers always want to take away things own and run by New Jerseyites? Its rather strange when you think about…. I don’t think the MTA would be any better then the PA which pre-Sandy ran the system very well. The System is still cleaner and safer then the Subway system , accidents are rare compared to the subway and the pay is better then the Subway…. I think NJT should run the PATH….most of the system including future expansions are in NJ along with 90% of the ridership…

    • Nyland8 says:

      Why do you New Jerseyans think you own the PATH?

      It isn’t run by “New Jerseyites”. It’s run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The PATH is not a New Jersey entity – it’s a bi-state entity.

      Both Port Authority bus terminals are in New York City; the World Trade Center is in New York City; 6 of the PATH’s 13 train stations are in New York City. PATH may serve commuters in New Jersey, but it doesn’t belong to them.

    • Nyland8 says:

      BTW, the only local system that was worse run than PATH during the Sandy debacle was NJTransit. Their preparations were a catastrophic failure and cost their own system hundreds of millions in unnecessary damage – including 100 million dollars in damage to trains cars and locomotives.

      And you want THEM to run the PATH???

    • Someone says:

      First of all, it’s a New Jerseyan.

      Second of all, PANYNJ is not located in NJ. It is located mainly in NY. Therefore, PATH does not belong to NJ.

      Third of all, NJT, not PATH, is the one who has to spend over $100 million to replace their equipment because they were so stupid. Don’t trust the NJT.

  12. Ant6n says:

    Path doesn’t have to join the MTA, the systems just have to integrate from the point of view of the users. That means:
    – make some revenue sharing agreement between the MTA and PATH, and integrate the transit fares.
    – put PATH on the NYC subway map
    – success!

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