Home PANYNJ How do you solve a problem like the PATH train?

How do you solve a problem like the PATH train?

by Benjamin Kabak

Just a few weeks ago, the Rudin Center released a report on the future of the Port Authority that cast the PATH train’s fate into question. PATH, you see, is a drag on the PA’s finances as fares don’t come close to covering the exceedingly high operating costs and, unlike in New York with the MTA, there are no dedicated taxes or fees that support the popular trans-Hudson rail connection. The money for the system comes from the rest of the Port Authority’s user fees, and as more and more projects demand PA resources, PATH is starting to drag down everything else.

Yet, PATH is an important part of the New York-New Jersey transit picture. Despite recessions, terrorist attacks and massive hurricanes, ridership has increased by nearly 50,000 passengers per day since 1994, and as Jersey City and Hoboken continue to grow, PATH remains a vital connection to the region’s job centers. So how do you solve this problem? According to a new report released tonight by the Citizens Budget Commission, one solution could involve transferring control of PATH to New Jersey Transit to better align rail operations, raising fares and instituting a series of fees and taxes that would put the railroad on a more sound fiscal path.

“All other U.S. transit systems rely on tax subsidies,” Charles Brecher, CBC’s Consulting Research Director said. “PATH is the only outlier. The burden of funding PATH should not fall only on passengers and the Port Authority. A broader region benefits from PATH and should pay a fair share.”

The report — available here as a PDF — offers up a succinct summary of the current structure and the inherent problems facing PATH. It mentions that the cost per ride of operating the train system is over $8.40, third highest among U.S. transit agencies, and it doesn’t delve into ways to cut down these costs. To me, that’s a significant red flag. But still, the budget deficit of $387 million for 2014 is projected to reach nearly half a billion dollars in four years, and that’s a problem.

So what’s the CBC solution? As the nonpartisan agency notes, PATH is the only transit system in the U.S. that receives no state or local tax subsidies (while NYC Transit, for instance, relies on those fees for 52 percent of its revenue). Tax subsidies, the report says, “is appropriate because of the benefit the general public, including employers, derives from an efficient mass transit system and the broad labor market it supports.”

Meanwhile, the Commission recommends a steep fare hike in line with their 50-25-25 funding model. The idea is that the agency should draw 50 of its revenue from fares and 25 each from taxes and motor vehicle users. The taxes could come from a small bump of around .32 percentage points to the sales tax or a steeper increase to property taxes. The fares would likely climb to a single-ride price of $4.50 and an average cost of around $3.78. I worry that this amount is too high for a mass transit option and could lead to severe sticker shock that encourages more driving. An equal-shares approach would lead to higher taxes but only a $3 single ride.

Finally, the CBC recommends removing PATH from the purview of the Port Authority and transferring operations to New Jersey Transit. Notes the report’s summery, “New Jersey Transit trains and buses already account for 60 percent of the weekday commuters from New Jersey directly to the Manhattan central business district, and adding PATH would bring the share to 87 percent. New Jersey Transit could more effectively coordinate transit operations across the state while continuing to receive a guaranteed toll cross-subsidy from the Port Authority.” (Though we could debate for hours whether New Jersey Transit successfully runs its own transit operations and can effectively coordinate anything.)

No matter the outcome, though, as the report notes, something has to give” “Whether PATH stays in PANYNJ’s portfolio or is transferred to NJT, a rethinking of the system’s financing policy is appropriate. More equitably financing PATH’s significant annual deficits would enhance its long-term fiscal sustainability. Adopting one of the recommended guidelines ensures that no one group—PATH riders, toll payers, residents, or employers—pays a disproportionate share of the cost.”

You may also like


Brandon April 25, 2014 - 12:49 am

Ive never heard of this 50-25-25 funding model before. Does anybody else actually follow this?

So basically they are saying PATH should fix the farebox recovery ratio, and set fares based on that?

You cant actually do that, of course, as the potential for demand destruction is huge, as you pointed out. Demand is not inelastic here and they cant expect to double revenue by doubling fares.

Kevin Walsh April 25, 2014 - 12:52 am

“The fares would like climb to a single-ride price of $4.50”

Riders should not knuckle under to this kind of extortion and should investigate other solutions such as ferries. I’m sure several ferry companies could fill this need.

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 10:04 am

Ferries are already much more than that.

Brad April 25, 2014 - 3:28 pm

The ferries are more expensive because they’re private for-profit companies.

Stephen Smith April 25, 2014 - 12:52 am

It mentions that the cost per ride of operating the train system is over $8.40, third highest among U.S. transit agencies, and it doesn’t delve into ways to cut down these costs. To me, that’s a significant red flag.

This is how I feel about all discussion of value capture to pay for new transit infrastructure in and around New York City.

Howard April 25, 2014 - 10:47 am

How is it that one of the most heavily used subway systems in the US has such a high cost per ride? Most of the other systems near the top of the list are expensive per ride because nobody rides them. PATH should be more in line with the NYC Subway as far as cost per ride.

It boggles the mind that this Citizens Budget Commission group thought it was a good idea to release a report that doesn’t delve into the cost side of things at all and advocates absurd fare hikes like this.

Heather April 25, 2014 - 6:59 am

$4.50 a ride? If that comes to fruition, I guess I’ll figure out the 126 bus from Port Authority for when I spend time in Hoboken. Faster than PATH, less crowded, and saves me a 15 minute walk across town.

I’m sure if some thought was put into it there would be ways to cut costs. Farming it out to NJT, and hiking fares? Not the answer.

MRB April 25, 2014 - 10:52 am

I’m not sure the walk from Port Authority to Herald Square qualifies as “cross-town”

Brad April 25, 2014 - 3:30 pm

He means across Hoboken.

Heather April 25, 2014 - 8:20 pm

You got it, across Hoboken.

Duke April 25, 2014 - 7:58 am

$387 million in operating deficit for PATH is nothing compared $4 billion in cost overruns at the World Trade Center and $1.8 billion diverted to fund projects on NJ state highways because Christie won’t raise their gas tax (which is the second lowest in the country).

If you want to fix the Port Authority’s budget, forget PATH, there are bigger problems.

Eric F April 25, 2014 - 11:19 am

For those in the cheap seats: (1) No Governor in 20+ years has even attempted to raise this tax. Corzine raised taxes on everything but breathing and never tried it. (2) Yes, NJ has a low gas tax, but it has very high tolls that are more or less unavoidable, rendering driving in NJ very costly. People on Long Island or Westchester generally don’t pay tolls for in-region trips, and that is not the case in NJ. If you go from Rahway to Ridgewood, you’ll be paying a buck or two in tolls.

I personally think the tax should be raised along with other revenue measures, but these will render NJ even more of a high cost place to move around in.

Stewart Clamen April 25, 2014 - 11:55 am

NJ Turnkpike and Garden State Parkway tolls were on the low side (when compared to DE, PA and NY toll roads) but were raised by Corzine. Part of the justification (I heard it from him directly during a “Town Meeting”) was that out-of-state drivers have to pay the tolls, but not necessarily the gas taxes.

I personally don’t understand the sacred cow nature of the gasoline tax. Retail prices have gone up so much in the past 10 years? How would anyone even notice a $0.05/gal tax increase?

Timbo April 25, 2014 - 12:08 pm

The sad part about it is that we still keep our gas tax a static number rather than making it a percentage. If the state or country did this, no one would ever have to get blamed for raising the tax.

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 12:23 pm

It’s a sacred cow because most people are quantitatively illiterate. They see a debit for the new gasoline they have, but no credit on the gasoline account for burning it. Just like how they see an $8 congestion charge as credit against their bank account, but don’t see the debit in saved gasoline (2.5 gallons saved is about $8).

As hellish as New Jersey driving is, it’s still better than places with that kind of density where there are lower or no tolls. Anybody who values their time at significantly more than the toll comes out ahead.

Maise April 25, 2014 - 8:14 am

I am no transit expert, but the path seems to be run in an extremely inefficient manner. I imagine this would be impossible to do with Unions, but there is no need for both the engineer and conductor when the conductor is in the front car? They dont even look out the window half the time before closing the doors, they just hit the buttons.

Eric F April 25, 2014 - 11:21 am

Not enough scale? There’s probably an expensive minimum of equipment and people to run a system. The MTA can spread that over more lines than PATH has. Not sure how that can possibly be addressed. You can’t practically outsource PATH maintenance to MTA yards or have the MTA run the signal systems, and you can’t scale up PATH, so there you go.

Epson45 April 25, 2014 - 1:04 pm

PATH has to be two manned crews. FRA guidelines.

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 1:50 pm

PATH is likely exempt from that guideline.

Brad April 25, 2014 - 3:31 pm

It crosses Conrail tracks in one of the maintenance yards so is under FRA’s authority.

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 3:44 pm

It’s under FRA authority for historical reasons more than anything else.

Patrick O'Hara April 27, 2014 - 8:07 pm

PATH can have out of the FRA’s jurisdiction at a moment’s notice…all they have to do is say the word. However, they stand to lose out on several streams of federal funding from the FRA if they do, so they seem to have come to the conclusion that sticking it out is better for them in the long-run.

Epson45 April 25, 2014 - 8:52 pm

Sure… NOT.

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 9:48 pm

Citation please? Oh, I forgot I was responding to a 12-year-old.

Anyway, for anyone who cares, I think the second crew member is for brake testing. It can be avoided if someone in the terminal is certified to do the same job. I don’t think FRA railroads strictly have crew requirements beyond the engineer right now.

Chris C April 25, 2014 - 2:58 pm

Inefficiency is not always down to the Unions.

How about a management who simply fail to address the issue of inefficient working practices just because that’s how things were always done.

Non-union work forces can be just as inefficient as unionised ones.

And you also ignore work practices that follow mandatory regulations that are years old and have never been updated to reflect modern technology – these apply to both sorts of workforces.

Scott E April 25, 2014 - 8:18 am

Though it’s a relatively small amount, I wonder — when NJ Transit has problems running trains to Penn Station New York and PATH “cross-honors” at Newark, Hoboken,and 33rd, do any of the tax-subsidized dollars flow to PATH with it? I wonder how much PATH loses each year due to NJT/Amtrak problems.

If PATH were to become part of NJT, that problem could be somewhat mitigated. Then again, we could kiss that extension to Newark Airport goodbye.

Patrick O'Hara April 25, 2014 - 8:49 am

To my understanding, there is some sort of financial arrangement for when those types of disruptions occour.

Eric F April 25, 2014 - 9:32 am

The cross-honorings work both ways. When PATH has problems, NJT will take PATH passengers to Newark.

Matt April 25, 2014 - 8:21 am

If you squint a little, isn’t the funding model for PATH the same as for, say the MTA? PATH is funded by taxes – we just call them bridge tolls. “Government” collects from motoring public, use to subsidize transit. So can’t this be seen as working as intended?

If the purpose of the bridge tolls is not to subsidize other parts of the PA empire, then perhaps they should stop collecting tolls beyond what’s strictly necessary to fund the maintenance of the thing being tolled.

Eric F April 25, 2014 - 8:52 am

Wow, that cost per trip is insane! The point about not sloughing off what amounts to the entire GWB annual toll revenue into PATH subsidies is right on. That said, I think all those tax ideas are non-starters. Each one effectively taxes the entire state to subsidize a narrow rail corridor. Also, that sales tax increase is hardly modest, and come son top of the Corzine increase that upped the tax from 6-7% and expanded its reach. The farebox recovery idea is more practical, but I doubt the PA would ever be able to get it up as high as they recommend. I’m less fussed about the farebox recovery here because the demographic that uses PATH probably skews substantially higher income than the state as a whole. That was probably not true 30 years ago, but in 2014 sending manna from heaven to subsidize Hoboken commuters is basically regressive.

PA could think about getting costs down to lower that $8+ per trip figure. They could scale back 24 hour operations as a starting point, perhaps shutting down one route at 1 a.m.

Benjamin Kabak April 25, 2014 - 9:33 am

That said, I think all those tax ideas are non-starters. Each one effectively taxes the entire state to subsidize a narrow rail corridor.

I’m not sure the taxes are going to work for other reasons, but that’s not what would happen. The taxes would be levied, as the MTA taxes are in New York State, only in the counties that PATH serves.

Eric F April 25, 2014 - 10:52 am

Got it, that makes more sense.

I always thought that this format would be a better was to finance ARC as well.

Sam April 25, 2014 - 10:50 am

Using tolls is a much better idea than using taxes. For one thing, drivers through the tunnels and on the bridges benefit from the fact that other people are taking PATH instead of clogging the roads. For another thing, taxes on income disincentivize work (something we don’t want to do), while tolls disincentivize driving into Manhattan (something we *do* want to do).

Eric F April 25, 2014 - 10:55 am

Tolls are already set at the level of diminishing returns. Think about what it would cost you to drive into Manhattan between access and local tolls, not to mention depreciation on your car, fuel and parking. Add it up, it’s insane.

Further, a lot of the traffic on the crossings that are tolled is absolutely, positively NOT bound for Manhattan.

Sam April 25, 2014 - 11:48 am

“Think about what it would cost you to drive into Manhattan between access and local tolls, not to mention depreciation on your car, fuel and parking. Add it up, it’s insane.”

However insane it may seem to you, it’s not high enough if there is still enough traffic to cause congestion at the tunnel crossings, as is currently the case at rush hour. In a way, your observation that tolls are only a small part of the costs of driving into the city makes my point. That means that the market can bear higher tolls. Is your point that raising the tolls won’t decrease driving at all? That is almost certainly not true; it would both increase revenue and decrease driving (even if most motorists just suck it up).

Even if it did not decrease driving at all, it would be worthwhile in order to pay for PATH and other projects by a method that doesn’t punish people for working (e.g., a payroll tax), and that compensates for the negative externalities that are caused by having drivers polluting the city and raising asthma rates, hitting people with their cars, and causing wear on the roads.

Eric F April 25, 2014 - 12:41 pm

“it’s not high enough if there is still enough traffic to cause congestion at the tunnel crossings”

The PA is already seeing lower crossings usage. They want to maximize revenues, and they can’t do that if aggregate revenue wind up going down because toll increases reduce traffic. The PA/MTA etc. essentially need jammed up level traffic to generate revenue to fund loss making operations.

“raising asthma rates”

I wish people would stop with this nonsense. A full-blooded Range Rover with the AC blasting, Justin Bieber bumping from the speakers, a NAV system humming and two DVDs playing on screens for the brats in the back generates maybe 1% of the emissions of a 1977 Pinto. Asthma rates are increasing despite massive increases in air quality, something else is at play, it’s not cars.

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 12:55 pm

They want to maximize toll throughput at all times. Bridge congestion means they aren’t doing that because people can’t move through the toll as quickly as possible. As long as there is bridge congestion, they want some people to bugger off until there isn’t any.

Toll congestion is another story. If the congestion is behind the toll, they probably don’t care. However, toll congestion may not be optimal for them either at this point because people paying cash probably slow down people with EZ-Passes.

With regard to transportation, I think asthma has more to do with diesel emissions than gasoline emissions.

pete April 25, 2014 - 5:30 pm

Asthma is a parent problem, it means rodent/dog urine vapor in the house, legal or illegal smoke in the house, or roach feces dust in the air. Since Docs cant lock the parents up for having a dirty house, they instead give drugs to the kids.

lawhawk April 25, 2014 - 8:53 am

Why is the operating cost per passenger so high? Is it capital costs, personnel costs, or legacy costs?

Is the construction of the PATH transit hub at WTC part of that equation?

This raises more questions than it answers, but I know one answer that doesn’t respond to the question, and that’s turning PATH over to NJ Transit.

NJ Transit has repeatedly shown itself incapable of operating on anything resembling a budget, and it’s flagrantly disregarded common sense when it came to storm preparation as it sat the rail fleet in Hoboken during Sandy.

But here’s the thing, PATH is supposedly such a drain on PANY that the solution is to make it a drain on NJ Transit, which can barely cover its own costs under its current funding structure?

Instead of figuring out how and why it is such a drain, and doing something to address those costs, the solution is to shift the burden and do nothing about the structural costs baked in?

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 10:59 am

NYCTA capital expenses:
$7.91/vehicle-mile (revenue)

I know they recently replaced their fleet, but that seems ridiculous. Contractor malfeasance?

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 11:01 am

(numbers for 2012)

Epson45 April 25, 2014 - 1:07 pm

They replace the fleet were some of the cars are 25 years old!

Sandy repairs.


Rebuild a waste of money Harrison station

and Billion dollar waste of WTC station.

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 1:34 pm

Some of that might be true, but 25 isn’t that old for a rail car, though I suppose they were pushing 40 or 50 at that point. And Sandy happened in late 2012, so that capital expense would have been later.

$718,274,034 was the capital charge for 2012. The entire fleet replacement was for half a billion, and that should be amortized over decades.

lawhawk April 25, 2014 - 1:47 pm

The average age of the cars in 2009 was 37 years old when the new cars began to replace the old fleet in 2009.

lop April 25, 2014 - 2:04 pm

Where did you get those numbers for PATH?


2012 annual passenger miles – 359.6 million


Skip to Schedule F on page 86.
Net capital expenditures for PATH was 173.747 million
Listed separately was 5.633 million for Journal Square Transportation Center.
And 563.756 million for WTC transportation hub.

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 2:32 pm

From here. You’re looking at the railroad alone, not the agency’s expenses, which also includes two major capital undertakings and evidently was what was reported by the feds.

Still, I tip my hat to you: you solved that mystery! Just read three lines further down schedule F for “PATH – Subtotal.” (But I don’t know why the reported federal numbers are different from the financial statement.)

Nathanael April 25, 2014 - 2:44 pm

The WTC project seems to have been setting fire to money.

Nathanael April 25, 2014 - 3:08 pm

PATH’s operating costs do seem excessive. From page 85, operating costs are $315,474,000. I’m not sure how.

I dug into the National Transit Database. PATH spends $29 million on “op_sal_wage_amount” (driver wages?) for vehicle operations, and $36 million on “other_sal_wage_amount”. (Who is this category?!?)

I’m not sure how the categories work, but this seems seriously skewed, since operators are usually the highest cost.
“Non-vehicle maintenance” wages ($21 million) and “vehicle maintenance” wages ($15 million) are reported on separate lines, so it can’t be that. “General administration” salaries ($4 million) is also separate.

Fringe benefits are also in a separate column ($3 million for administrators, $14 million for “non vehicle maintenance”, $10 million for “vehicle maintenance”, and $41 million for “operations”).

The casualty and liabilty costs are $15 million a year, the “service costs” for “non-vehicle maintenance” (probably track materials) is $19 million, and every other line item is less than $10 million.

So what’s a wage/salary for operations, which isn’t for a driver, isn’t for maintenance, isn’t for administration? This is a remarkably large number at $36 million.

There are dispatchers, of course. Ticket booth agents? Perhaps the Port Authority Police? Conductors?

The NYC Subway has a similar cost structure where more operations salaries are from “non-operators” than from “operators”. This is *very unusual* — in almost all systems “operator salaries and wages” are substantially larger than “other salaries and wages” for operations.

But NYC Subway has a zillion staffed stations with employees, which probably explains this. PATH doesn’t have very many stations at all. I’m genuinely curious why more salaries are being paid to “non operators” than to “operators” for operations at PATH.

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 3:49 pm
Nathanael April 28, 2014 - 4:38 pm

Nothing’s jumping out at me from that. There do seem to be an awful lot of clerks. Also, more car inspectors than car repairmen.

In fact, car inspector seems to be the most common job title — there are approximately 77 of them. One for every 5 cars.

Is this normal?

Bolwerk April 29, 2014 - 3:50 pm

Well, apologies for the mess, but title followed by number of positions:

Conductor 152
Engineer 135
Car Inspector 78
Engineer/ Switching 45
Signal Repairman I 42
Trackman I 37
General Maintainer 30
Car Repairman 29
Foreman 22
Tower Operator 22
Electrician-Car Equipment 21
Power Rail Maintainer I 21
Machine Repairman I 20
Track Inspector / Maintainer II 19
Passenger Information Agent 18
Train Dispatcher 17
Maintenance Foreman II 16
Electrician I 15
Operations Examiner 14
Accounting Clerk II 11
Communications Repairman I 11
General Maintenance Supervisor 11
Lead Mechanic 11
Mechanical Equipment Operator I 11
Substation Operator Mechanic II 11
Communications Agent 9
Trackman III 9
Assignment Coordinator 8
Assistant Trainmaster 8
Clerk III 8
Power Director 8
Signal Supervisor II 8
Structure Maintainer I 8
Machinist – Car Equipment 7
Yard Supervisor 7
Electrician II 6
Mechanical Equipment Repairman I 6
Senior Engineer 6
Supervising Communications Agent 6
Accounting Clerk III 5
Assistant Signal Repairman 5
Chief Maintenance Supervisor 5
Communications Technician 5
Power Rail Maintainer II 5
Sanitation Group Supervisor 5
Senior Project Manager 5
Signal Shop Repairman II 5
Stockkeeper I 5
Track Foreman II 5
Cable Splicer II 4
Clerk II 4
Clerk Typist II 4
Communications Foreman 4
Draftsman I 4
Electronic Technician – Machine Repair 4
Painter I 4
Project Manager 4
Pump Maintainer I 4
Pump Maintainer II 4
Assistant Supervisor-Communication 3
Communications Repairman II 3
Data Entry Clerk 3
Electronic Specialist 3
Electronic Technician 3
HVAC Repairman 3
Machine Repairman II 3
Principal Financial Analyst 3
Staff Business Manager 3
Trainee 3
Trainmaster-Transportation 3
Administrative Secretary 2
Assistant Director, Capital Project Management 2
Assistant Revenue Unit Supervisor 2
Assistant Signal Designer 2
Carpenter I 2
Clerk I 2
Clerk-Stenographer II 2
Fire Marshall 2
Manager, Port Authority Trans-Hudson Financial Services 2
Principal Engineer 2
Principal Office Assistant 2
Pump Maintainer III 2
Senior Administrative Secretary 2
Senior Business Manager 2
Senior Program Manager 2
Signal Repairman II 2
Signal Testman I 2
Signal Testman II 2
Signal Trainee 2
Stockkeeper II 2
Stockkeeper III 2
Structural Maintenance Mechanic III 2
Structure Maintainer II 2
Superintendent, Power, Signal & Communications 2
Supervising Assignment Coordinator 2
Supervisor Stores 2
Supervisor Transportation Services 2
Technology Systems Specialist 2
Welder 2
Acting Director & General Manager Port Authority Trans Hudson 1
Administrator 1
Assistant Director 1
Assistant Operations Analyst 1
Assistant Station Supervisor 1
Assistant Superintendent, Car Equipment 1
Assistant Superintendent, Transportation 1
Assistant Superintendent, Way & Structures 1
Associate Customer Services Representative 1
Blacksmith I 1
Blacksmith II 1
Bridge Maintenance Electrician II 1
Business Consulting Program Manager 1
Carpenter II 1
Chief Maintenance Supervisor – Track 1
Chief Maintenance Supervisor-Building Stations and Tenant Services 1
Chief Maintenance Supervisor-Mechanical 1
Chief Signal Supervisor – Construction 1
Chief Signal Supervisor – Maintenance 1
Communications Engineer Electrical, Power & Communications 1
Communications Shop Repairman II 1
Contract Administration Specialist 1
Coordinator, Port Authority Trans-Hudson Training Programs 1
Director and General Manager, Port Authority Trans-Hudson 1
Draftsman II 1
Executive Secretary 1
Facility Maintenance Specialist 1
Lead Electronic Technician 1
Lead Electronic Technician – Machine Repair 1
Maintenance Asset Manager 1
Manager, Business Services 1
Manager, Contract Services 1
Manager, Operations Support – Port Authority Trans-Hudson 1
Manager, PATH Security 1
Manager, Port Authority Trans-Hudson Capital Projects 1
Manager, Railcar Program 1
Manager, System Safety & Security 1
Manager, System Technology and Fare Collection 1
Mason 1
Mason II 1
Operations Analyst-Transportation 1
Operations Group Supervisor-Transportation 1
Painter II 1
Plumber I 1
Plumber II 1
Power Supervisor Electric Power & Communications 1
Principal Safety and Environmental Coordinator 1
Principal Safety Engineer 1
Program Manager 1
Revenue Unit Supervisor 1
Senior Circuit Designer 1
Senior Engineer-Signals 1
Senior Engineering Analyst 1
Senior Environmental Program Specialist 1
Senior Fare Collection Engineer 1
Senior Information Systems Planner 1
Senior Security Coordinator 1
Senior Signal Circuit Designer 1
Signal Shop Repairman I 1
Special Services Assistant 1
Staff Signal Designer 1
Station Supervisor-Transportation 1
Student Engineer 1
Substation Operator Mechanic I 1
Superintendent, Car Equipment 1
Superintendent, Car Equipment Division 1
Superintendent, Transportation 1
Supervising Office Assistant 1
Supervising Security Coordinator 1
Supervising Transportation Planning & Analysis 1
Supervisor- Ced Training 1
Supervisor-Car Clean & Running Repair 1
Supervisor-Car Inspection 1
Supervisor-Car Maintenance 1
Supervisor-Communications 1
Supervisor-Overhaul 1
Supervisor, Journal Square Transportation Center Operations 1
Supervisor, Power & Technical Services 1
Supervisor, Project Coordination 1
Supervisor, Rail Projects 1
Telecommunication Engineer 1
Track Engineer 1
Yardmaster-Transportation 1

Nathanael April 28, 2014 - 4:49 pm

I also note that there are 21 tower operators, which seems like a lot for such a small system. (This is in addition to the 17 dispatchers.)

Let me guess: the signalling is completely antiquated? “Tower operators” are going the way of the dodo on most operations. PATH has two obnoxiously difficult flat junctions, but even with generous staffing, I’m not sure how it needs this many tower operators.

John-2 April 25, 2014 - 9:03 am

Seems like, fare costs aside, you’d be getting into a bit of a jurisdictional quagmire having NJ Transit operating a system that does have some ridership entirely within New York State, mainly those using the connection between the Christopher Street station in the far west Village and Herald Square.

Metro North does have a couple of Port Jervis trains making at least one intermediate stop in New Jersey on the route between Hoboken and the first NYS stop in Suffern, so it’s not an insurmountable problem, but legally, those riders using the line just for its stops on the east side of the Hudson can say shifting PATH’s control from the PANYNJ to NJT is taking away what little in-state voice they have in operation of the system.

SEAN April 25, 2014 - 9:40 am

Two things…

1. Those who ride PATH within NYC have the F as an alternitive, but they end up saving a little on the fare by doing it this way.

2. The Suffern station is owned by NJT not Metro-North.

John-2 April 25, 2014 - 10:34 am

Point taken on the Suffern station — though the Metro North timetable does list the station as being in New York, and a notation on using Hudson-Bergen Main Line Service for routings between Suffern and Hoboken. So I’m assuming Suffern is considered a ‘connector’ for NJT with the Metro North stations to the north and west, so a passenger going from, say, Port Jervis to Rutherford wouldn’t have to go all the way to Hoboken first.

But how is the F a substitute for someone living in the area of Christopher and Greenwich streets if they want to go to/from Herald Square? The F’s an option for the other PATH stations on the line, but not that one (which is why I used that one as the example).

Benjamin Kabak April 25, 2014 - 10:35 am

Curious if you have any ridership numbers for that route. My understanding is that it’s very very low almost to the point of being de minimis.

Tower18 April 25, 2014 - 12:33 pm

Yeah if I lived in New York and needed to travel from the West Village to Midtown, I would surely just use the 1 train rather than PATH, especially considering the single-ride fare is now the same for both systems. PATH’s monthly is cheaper, but who living in NYC would get a PATH monthly just for their Christopher-33rd commute (which would be useless otherwise) instead of getting a MTA unlimited and taking the 1 Christopher-34th.

Any actual demand for Christopher-33rd on PATH must be almost zero, and what is there is surely not worth worrying about.

John-2 April 25, 2014 - 12:48 pm

It probably is pretty miniscule — Unless you’re going to the far west Village from an area east of Sixth Avenue, the 1 would be just as convenient an alternative. But I’m thinking about the wonderful world of Fun City NIMBY Lawsuitland, where just a handful of people with the money and/or proper knowledge of the legal system can bollocks up anything in New York for years (and, if they find the right judge, can actually win).

Brad April 25, 2014 - 3:46 pm

Except during the MTA transit strike back in 2005.

Patrick O'Hara April 27, 2014 - 8:20 pm

Suffern station is completly owned and operated by New Jersey Transit. It is possible for states to own and operate stations outside their borders (i.e. SEPTA to West Trenton, NJ).

Suffern is their Weston terminal on the Main/Bergen County lines because of the yard just west of the station there.

Trains that operate past Suffern and onto the Southern Tier are New Jersey Transit trains with NJT crews dispatched from NJT’s ROC in the Meadowlands. Metro-North pays NJT a lump sum per train to operate their trains. They pay less for trains that make one or more stops wholly within New Jersey on a train-by-train basis. The trackage itself beyond Suffern is owned by Norfolk Souern, but leased and maintained by Metro-North. Metro-North owns a percentage of the equipment needed to sufficiently operate the Southern Tier and PVL expresses, and it is used in pool service with other NJT equipment across the Hoboken Division.

lawhawk April 25, 2014 - 2:17 pm

The Port Jervis line express trains start at Hoboken, with stops at Secaucus, and then most will proceed directly to the first stop at Suffern and points west to Port Jervis.

Some trains, however, will make stops at Ramsey, Ramsey Rt 17, Mahwah, Suffern, and then proceed locally to Port Jervis.

On off-peak periods, there are a couple of trains that will make all stops (or nearly all stops) between Hoboken and Port Jervis.

The PJ-Hoboken schedule has a similar breakdown of stops.

This is direct from the NJT Main/Bergen/PJ schedule.

There’s a similar agreement for the Pascack Valley line.

NJ Transit has been operating this route in an agreement with the MTA for years. The big issue is when the MTA issues fare hikes, but the NJ Transit doesn’t. It affects those stations mostly from Ridgewood up to Suffern, causing a price break or cost adjustment.

That happened most recently last year. MTA contributes $21 million annually, plus $700k for capital improvements, to NJ Transit to operate the service.

Patrick O'Hara April 27, 2014 - 8:23 pm

The term for that is called “hold down fares” and something similar happens with the ConnDOT and Metro-North stations on the New Haven Line. When the fares for a station in New Jersey would be more expensive than the stations in New York, Metro-North essentially pays the differerence between the lower fare and whatever NJTransit wants to charge.

R2 April 25, 2014 - 9:23 am

Are these people f-cking kidding? Red herring. The real problem is at WTC (and that tolls won’t make it rain forever).

You let NJT control PATH and you might as well attempt to float those shiny new cars right into the Hudson!

Brandon April 25, 2014 - 9:38 am

Do we know how a lot of their costs compare to the MTA?

Cost per passenger being higher could also be because they have fewer passengers.

SEAN April 25, 2014 - 9:54 am

In adition lets not forget – PATH is only 13-miles in length, making the costs seme even worse.

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 10:15 am

No, it’s more than that. Their operating cost per vehicle revenue hour is three times as high ($31.10 vs. $10.96 in 2012). They use basically the same kind of equipment.

Their labor expenses are probably just significantly higher. That’s usually what varies the most between similar agencies, and PATH and the NYCTA’s rail transit division are pretty similar operationally.

Nathanael April 25, 2014 - 3:11 pm

See above: I dug into the national transit database, and there’s a category of wages/salaries which seems extraordinarily high. They’re not for “operators” (drivers), and they’re not for maintenance of trains or track, and they’re not for administration, so I’m a little puzzled as to who this group is who is commanding the largest pot of wages/salaries.

Does PATH staff each station with four ticket booth clerks? Or is this the PA Police? Or perhaps PATH dispatchers are paid several times the going rate? (I doubt that.)

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 5:09 pm

I made a pivot table of PATH wages/salaries by title and a count of each title. Want me to e-mail it to you? Shoot me an email at my posting name at gmail dot com.

Nathanael April 28, 2014 - 4:40 pm

Thanks for that. I commented earlier in this thread. I don’t understand enough about the details of operations to really understand what all those “clerks” are doing, or exactly what a “car inspector” is.

Sam April 25, 2014 - 11:00 am

PATH has the second-highest ridership per mile of any transit system in the US, after the MTA. There’s no reason it should have the third-highest cost per rider of any transit system.

BoerumHillScott April 25, 2014 - 10:01 am

The key is clearly to get the cost per rider down, which this report does not consider.
It also seems to ignore the large number of people who commute from NY to NJ.

Trains are pretty crowded during the rush, and don’t run too frequently outside of rush, so I don’t see lower ridership being an excuse for high expenses.

From past reports I have looked at, security is an enormous driver of PATH costs, which is funny because other than military people hanging out at WTC there is little sign that PATH has more or less security than NYCT.

Eric F April 25, 2014 - 11:26 am

“It also seems to ignore the large number of people who commute from NY to NJ”

No way that this is a “large number”. I’m sure the PA wishes it was. They run a very constrained conveyor belt system of track, and they have VERY FREQUENT service of utterly empty trains back to NJ from NY, especially on the 33rd to JSQ line. If they could fill trains both ways they’d be in clover and NJ would have a hack of a tax base to boot.

BoerumHillScott April 25, 2014 - 1:50 pm

I go from WTC to Exchange Place every morning and back every evening, and the trains are quite busy – not crush load, but similar loading to how the R train was when it went from Brooklyn to Manhattan, and probably more full than any NYCT train leaving Manhattan in the morning or entering in the afternoon.
On the times I have taken the line to 33 in the evening, the loads seem similar.

The report refusing to acknowledge this traffic at all when comparing PATH to other systems or describing its customer base is a large oversight.

PATH does have an issue with light mid-day ridership, but they run reduced service to compensate, and to some extent rush hours have a higher influence on costs than mid-day.

Eric F April 25, 2014 - 2:21 pm

I’ve been at WTC during the morning rush. There are people headed both ways, but it’s more like 90-10 heading east. I’ll give you 80-20, but it’s not very substantial. If the PA could max it’s system out in 2 directions they’d be thrilled. If JC developed as the mass back office they thought it would be, things would be much more balanced. Because the PATH has essentially zero storage capacity in NYC, every train that comes in has to come back even if there’s enough room in there to play bocce.

JJJJ April 25, 2014 - 10:24 am

Id love to see that conversation.

“Hey NJT, we dont want to run this train anymore because its destroying our budget. The thing costs hundreds of millions a year. Can you take it?”

Theres no savings to be made by having NJTransit run it, because its not like they can mix it with other equipment they have lying around.

Sam April 25, 2014 - 10:40 am

The one glimmer of hope would be if NJTransit could get rid of the Port Authority Police and put NJTransit police in there. That would result in some labor savings.

tacony April 25, 2014 - 10:31 am

$4.50 is a crazy fare and would divert too many customers to NJTransit rail and bus service, both of which are already beyond maxed out at rush hours.

I used to think the Citizens Budget Commission were a decent organization but the fact that they advocate raising fares so much without looking at how to lower costs is ridiculous. PATH is basically a subway line. Compare it to the costs of the MTA running the J train or something. Of course the MTA has a bigger economy of scale and shares resources across the entire system, but otherwise there’s gotta be something weird going on at PATH to drive such high costs per rider.

AG April 25, 2014 - 6:41 pm

everything you just stated is why it makes more sense to fold it into the MTA/NYCT. it’s a subway line and would get to share resources and economy of scale. NJT??? not really.

Nyland8 April 25, 2014 - 8:57 pm


Sam April 25, 2014 - 10:38 am

A three-line system serving the two densest major cities in the US with 200,000+ people (NYC and Jersey City) should not require $4.50 fares to be viable. That is one of the most absurd recommendations I’ve ever heard…WTF? Operational costs of $8.40 per ride for such a heavily trafficked and short system are out of control. It’s time to get some concessions from the unions, fire the Port Authority Police or get them to accept reasonable wages, and find other cost-saving measures, as well as government subsidies.

Also, I think the Port Authority *should* pitch in for PATH … the Holland Tunnel and Lincoln Tunnel would be unusable if all the PATH riders switched to private autos, so the car drivers get a positive externality from PATH and should have to pay for it.

Howard April 25, 2014 - 10:43 am

You expect to charge $4.50 for a subway with only two lines that can only take you to a very limited slice of the metro region, that has horrible headways (20 minutes on the WTC-NWK line almost all of the day!), and that doesn’t allow any free transfers to any other transportation systems? You gotta be kidding me!

Eric F April 25, 2014 - 11:01 am

You expect to charge $13 for access to a claustrophobia inducing two lane tunnel built in 1920, reachable by going through 20 traffic lights in downtown Jersey City. This area is highly capable of putting the screws to people with ineslastic transportation demand.

Sam April 25, 2014 - 11:55 am

Yes, I expect to charge that (and more) because those people shouldn’t be driving into the city in the first place. It causes traffic for people who actually *need* to drive in (deliveries, for instance), it creates pollution and raises health costs from elevated asthma and respiratory illnesses, it causes 300 pedestrian deaths per year in NYC alone, and it creates a load of wear and tear on the roads.

That doesn’t mean I want to ban anyone from driving in, but they should be charged what the market will bear. There’s no interest for the state in setting the price below market price for driving. On the other hand, riding PATH should be subsidized because it keeps more obnoxious motorists of the streets of Hudson County and New York.

I would also point out that gas taxes in NJ are some of the lowest in the nation, so NJ drivers who commute into the city shouldn’t cry too much.

Eric F April 25, 2014 - 12:44 pm

“300 pedestrian deaths per year in NYC alone”

I’m going to take a flyer and suggest that the ER physician driving to her hospital job at 6 a.m. from Bridgewater is not the cause of any pedestrian deaths, or even mild discomfort.

The people you are claiming are some sort of cancer on the city are the very people that make the place work.

Epson45 April 25, 2014 - 1:10 pm

300 died out of how many NYC population? lol.

Eric April 25, 2014 - 1:57 pm

That’s much worse than other things we spend money on. The Boston Marathon attack killed what, 3 Americans out of 300 million? And yet the whole country had to crack down on pressure cookers.

Alon Levy April 25, 2014 - 4:09 pm

300 out of 8.5 million. Yes, it’s well below US average – the difference with the suburbs actually more than makes up for the difference in homicide rates, which are higher in the city. And this is because fewer people drive.

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 5:16 pm

Meanwhile, there were 10,291 non-fatal crashes into pedestrians in 2012. lol

They don’t break them down by severity, but they probably range from minor boo-boos (tehehe) to paralysis (major roffles).

MRB April 25, 2014 - 10:51 am

I think a better step would be to align PATH fares with MTA fares – and then finding out why the PATH costs so much per ride in the first place [perhaps it has to do with too many empty trains during non-peak periods. while late night service is a lifesaver; perhaps they could go with shorter trainsets and smaller crews]

Tower18 April 25, 2014 - 12:45 pm

Metrocard/SmartLink fares are aligned at $2.50 for both systems.

tacony April 25, 2014 - 1:03 pm

They already run 30 minute minimum overnight headways as opposed to the MTA subway’s 20 minute minimum. Their frequencies on weekends are already inadequate– take an NJ-bound train from 33rd St on a Saturday afternoon and you’ll see how crowded it is. Running less service is not the solution.

Ike April 28, 2014 - 10:24 am

It’s 35-minute overnight headways now. They reduced it from 30 to 35 a couple of years ago, which is totally inadequate, not to mention that you can’t memorize the schedule easily anymore, because 35 doesn’t divide into 60. This pathetic lameness costs $8.40 per ride?! The Port Authority is a sick joke.

BoerumHillScott April 25, 2014 - 10:51 am

Digging into the report, it seems like the goal was to play up the deficit and make it seem bad.
Couple of things I have noticed: past revenue increases are shown both nominal and inflation adjusted, while expenses and deficits are only shown nominal, making them seem to go up more than they are.
Another thing is that capital infusions for things like WTC are not included in revenue, but the depreciation of the capital items are included in expenses.

As previously noted, the report completely fails to mention reverse commuting, as well as the impact of the WTC opening.

PATH clearly has big issues, but I question the objectiveness of this report.

Lou April 25, 2014 - 11:18 am

The PATH is part of the Port Authority because NJ would not let NY use the PA money to build the WTC without giving something to NJ. The transfer of the PATH to PA was the logical choice. IT makes sense. The PATH takes the pressure off the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and in return part of the tolls go to its operations.

NJ would never take it. New Yorkers just want to screw over NJ. Not going to happen unless NJ gets back all the money the PA took from NJ over the years to fund the WTC. The only reason people are pissing on the PA is because the tolls have gone up alot over the past few years. I think High bridge and tunnel tolls to Manhattan is a good think. IT helps promote alternative transportation and discourages sprawl and needless driving into Manhattan.

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 12:38 pm

I’m not even sure the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels have a surplus anymore. Either way, the current status quo is the typical New Jersey driver comes to the city and contributes virtually nothing to road upkeep in the city. And they have no incentive to contribute even indirectly because they have no reason to fill up at pumps here.

NJ is parasitic in similar ways to Long Island. It’s New York that gets screwed.

Eric F April 25, 2014 - 12:46 pm

“contributes virtually nothing to road upkeep in the city”

Exactly! All they do is pay NY income taxes, generate value for an employer that pays NY corporation tax and property taxes, pay sales taxes on things bought in NY, all without imposing any demands on schools, parks, prisons and public aid programs. Utterly parasitic. They need to block off those commuting routes so that NYC will be prosperous again.

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 1:19 pm

Sheesh, you really need to improve on reading comprehension before these explosions of tween boy sarcasm. I said New Jersey, not New Jersey’s population, is parasitic. As far as I’m concerned, anyone driving from New Jersey is entitled to follow the rules.

That said, regardless of what they do outside the car, inside the car drivers from New Jersey contribute little to nothing in road upkeep, while contributing a lot in the way of congestion, which retards our economy. Virtually any New Jersey driver who is employed is probably replaceable with someone from New York or elsewhere. Therefore, it’s not like they contribute anything special to the New York treasury that would be lost if they left because, God forbid, they don’t want to pay at least most of the cost of their car trip.

Eric F April 25, 2014 - 2:25 pm

I’m trying to follow this, but it’s tough. They pay net taxes, but somehow aren’t paying for road upkeep. I don’t think NJ commuters control what NYC does with their taxes. Oh, and they don’t pay for the roads by getting dunned for $13 bucks in tolls, just on the crossing, and they should solve this problem by riding PATH where they’d be subsidized to the tune of about $14 per round trip. Am I following you?

Bolwerk April 25, 2014 - 10:04 pm

How hard is this? New York City (and probably state) get nothing from them rationally related to their use of our roads. They presumably fill up in New Jersey and the only toll they pay to get to NYC goes to the Port Authority. They get a free ride in New York.

Also, you are still misunderstand a basic fact of transit economics. Transit has high fixed costs, so more users will tend to reduce the per-passenger cost of a trip.

lop April 25, 2014 - 10:48 pm

Well if local roads are for the most part paid for using general tax revenue and not user fees/gas taxes, and they pay income taxes, then your argument takes a bit of a hit doesn’t it?

Bolwerk April 26, 2014 - 8:49 am

Only whatever subset of them come in for employment purposes pay income taxes. Even that subset is paying less than New York drivers, and gets subsidized by non-drivers. But I think that misses the point.

You guys keep viewing this through the lens of individual behavior. It’s not about that. The macro-problem is NJ has no interest in paying for the transportation needs of its citizens who flood in here, and the result is arterial traffic congestion that impacts commerce in the entire northeast. I very much doubt driving across the Hudson is anything other than a last/only resort for the people who do it, so it’s a bit hard to fault them.

AG April 26, 2014 - 9:40 am

“You guys keep viewing this through the lens of individual behavior. It’s not about that. ”

But that’s exactly it… we live in a very selfish society. You are absolutely correct that they just don’t get it. NJ has one of the highest median incomes in the country (usually in the top 3 along with Connecticut). The reason is because of all the high paying jobs in NYC that NJ residents have (without having to absorb the poor immigrants that NYC does). Even much of their industry exists because of it’s proximity to the NYC market. At the end of the day – the voters don’t think about that.

Ralfff April 26, 2014 - 2:10 pm

They do pay state but not local income taxes unless they are city employees(neither do New York suburbs though) which is a larger problem outside the scope of this discussion. Not that local income taxes are necessarily a good idea at all, but if they are, everyone who works in the city should pay them. As it is, it’s an incentive to not live in the city.

EO April 25, 2014 - 3:30 pm

First, the commission is composed purely of NY interests, so of course they would try to push the costs into another state.

Second, NJ will not take it. Period. A take over is never going to pass the state legislature unless NY stops collecting income taxes on all people from NJ who work in the city.

Third, the agency really should focus on transportation, not real estate, but unfortunately due to the way politics works it needs to give something to NY in order for NY to let it sun commuter rail which benefits people in NJ.

The real solution here, apart from the pipe dream of abolishing the State of NJ and splitting it between NY and PA, is to form a regional transportation entity with a dedicated tax — income or sales or both covering all counties in CT, NY and NJ where it operates trains, buses or other transportation infrastructure. The MTA, NJTransit, PA, Tappan-Zee and portions of I-80, I-95 and a bunch of other infrastructure including the non-private ferries. The agency should need no approval from the state capitals to rise the taxes or build new infrastructure and its directors should be directly electable by the people in the counties it serves.

The bad part is none of this is going to happen, so tune in for continued more of the same until a major infrastructure failure causes reconsideration. Also, we ourselves are guilty of neglecting the transit system and taking it for granted — why there are people spotting the latest gadgets such as iPhones and iPads and complaining about how they cannot pay their transit fare because it is “so high” is beyond me. We get what we pay for …

Timbo April 25, 2014 - 12:47 pm

4.50, basically in between the cost of a trip from Secaucus ($4) and Newark and Hoboken ($5).

But I want the opinion of the many transit experts here. If the MTA, Port Authority, and NJ Transit were to merge into something like the MBTA, would it work? I understand that this proposal would step on all kinds of feet and destroy state control of their transit systems, but would such a massive regional transit network work?

tacony April 25, 2014 - 1:11 pm

Why is your comparison the MBTA? Isn’t it solely a Massachusetts entity? I’d think the MTA already is “like the MBTA”…

It’s usually tough to merge services that are perceived to only benefit residents of one state. Too much perception of one state subsidizing another, and too many idiots who think of the region in a “them against us” mentality. Heck, this report seems to be trying to pin the PATH onto New Jersey taxpayers because a lot of New Yorkers never use the PATH and don’t want to subsidize it!

JJJ April 25, 2014 - 1:22 pm

Hes using it as a regional example. One agency that runs buses, trolleybuses, light rail, subways and commuter rail. They have no “competition” in their service region, aside from tiny towns running useless tiny shuttle routes.

And they run their trains deep into Rhode Island, and have in the past into New Hampshire.

There arent many examples of that in the US.

Although NJTransit is actually a regional system. They run their buses and trains into three states and also operate bus, light rail, commuter rail and I think a ferry.

Epson45 April 25, 2014 - 1:11 pm

Jitney buses will soon be popular then.

Mark April 25, 2014 - 4:44 pm

Perhaps if PATH hadn’t signed on for that white marble elephant they’re building at WTC, this wouldn’t be an issue.

Perhaps they should try to actually supply the service they’ve been contracted to provide. PATH makes the Toonerville Trolley look good.

Rob April 25, 2014 - 4:49 pm

“All other U.S. transit systems rely on tax subsidies,” — what about PATCO? is that true for them? If not, that might be why only now are they renovating their 45 yr old fleet, and not even replacing it with new cars.

apharrisqueens April 25, 2014 - 5:24 pm

I read the PDF – PATH’s operating cost per ride is actually $8.45 (not $8.40) – no biggie – but I can’t find any explanation of why it costs so much in any of these cities (SF BART and Miami Dade Transit were the 2 highest costs) – How is it possible the PATH costs $8.45 a ride? What is the average distance of a PATH trip? Like 2 miles? Going through 100 year tunnels from the same stations for how many decades? And the PATH is pretty damn crowded at rush hour. WTF is going on.

apharrisqueens April 25, 2014 - 5:51 pm

It is kind of amusing that the guagua buses that take tens of thousands of people from Spanish neighborhoods throughout Northern NJ into the city are entirely private operations and profitable. Meanwhile, PATH is a 100 year old rapid transit with insane operating costs that bleeds money.

AG April 25, 2014 - 6:35 pm

So what experience does NJT have with rapid transit???? Why – other than politics would it not make more sense to let the MTA take over PATH???

Also – as much as we complain – when you look at the numbers – it’s amazing how efficient NYCT is compared to other systems. I’ll stop complaining as much (though the capital costs are still too high).

Epson45 April 25, 2014 - 8:56 pm

Most of the PATH riders are from Jersey side.

AG April 26, 2014 - 9:51 am

Well of course… it brings Jersey ppl to their NYC jobs.. Other than that – there is no real integration so their is no real need for most NY’s to use it. If there was an integration more NY’ers would use it – or have a reason too. I mean even if you look at the number of stations – it’s basically even between the 2 states.

Bolwerk April 26, 2014 - 9:17 am

NJT has a lot of railroad experience, which carries over to rapid transit, and the PATH crews would take their experience with them anyway. There may also be some advantages in keeping all the FRA stuff in NJ under one roof. But I think it just shouldn’t matter who actually owns what. Two agencies or one, there should be fare integration and openness to working together. That really goes for all agencies.

NYCTA’s rail division seems to manage to hide some inefficiencies with scale, but I agree they are definitely pretty reasonable compared to most regional agencies. The buses seem like a horrible mess though.

AG April 26, 2014 - 9:49 am

Yeah it shouldn’t matter… but with too many cooks in the pot we get the disjointed operations we get now. I think in the long run – there is a better chance for integration (and maybe even expansion) if it is a part of NYCT versus NJT. Neither scenario would be easy though.

AG April 26, 2014 - 9:58 am

another reason is I think NJT should focus on it’s commuter rail and it’s issues. adding PATH to me would increase their seeming lack of focus. To me they should focus all their energy into working with Amtrak into getting another tunnel. Even expanding the Hudson-Bergen ligth rail would be more worthwhile for them -in my opinion. In any event – it anything does actually happen with PATH – it prob won’t happen until the proposed Newark Airport is sorted out. So we’ll see what happens.

Alon Levy April 26, 2014 - 1:15 pm

I don’t understand why the existence of commuter rail means NJT can’t run PATH. It runs buses, a subway-surface line, light rail, and commuter rail. This is not a single-mode agency.

AG April 26, 2014 - 9:26 pm

it’s not really about whether they “could” – but what makes the most sense. Which agency would be able to streamline PATH the best and fastest? I think the better synergy would be with NYCT…

Bolwerk April 26, 2014 - 5:25 pm

I’d really just keep it under the PA umbrella. Reciprocate fares with NYCTA, use tolls to subsidize operations beyond what the fare covers, and let the states chip in for the capital expenses on their respective sides of the border. That means the MTA can own the tracks on one side and NJT on the other.

AG April 26, 2014 - 9:38 pm

that idea is pretty good… the only problem though is getting them to “play nice” with each other… The political pressure (this is all political) seems to be to do “something” with PATH.

In a perfect world the PATH would extend south through Bayonne with a stop or two – linking up with the Staten Island RR at its terminus. That would finally link SI to the rest of the regional rail network. Of course that is a big dream…

Spendmor Wastemor April 26, 2014 - 1:56 pm

Spending each dollar more effectively was beneath mention.

Perhaps that is now Thoughtcrime.

Ralfff April 26, 2014 - 3:01 pm

Put up transferring PATH to the MTA to a vote in the NJ counties that would have to pay MTA payroll tax. It will probably lose, but what MTA can offer them in exchange is fare integration with NYCT. PATH would be run like the SIR, a separate division because it’s under FRA oversight, and of course those counties each get a seat on the MTA’s board or whatever.

Promise that no operations jobs will be lost in NJ, but PA police remain the PA’s problem. This would lay the groundwork for eventually integrating the PATH with NYCT completely (THROUGH-RUNNING!). Also in exchange, New York State will take over the WTC site. Again, the PA police are the PA’s problem. In exchange for these money-losers being taken off the PA’s balance sheets, they have to upgrade facilities at the PA bus terminal to keep up with demand.

The problem then would become, assuming this was all accomplished, A: how to actually practically integrate PATH with NYCT and B: What to do with all the extra cash the PA will be able to pile up. I don’t know. But it’s no more irrational than the current situation.

AG April 26, 2014 - 10:07 pm

Yes I tend to agree.

You are right – it wouldn’t be any more complicated than what exists now.. except the transfers to the rest of NYCT would become free.

Also – as had been spoken about the potential of sending the #7 to Secaucus to alleviate the crush on the tubes used by NJT and Amtrak… I wonder if PATH was integrated – would it be possible to send PATH to Secaucus from either Hoboken or Jersey City. Sending ppl to 33rd St could help accomplish some of that.. Though it wouldn’t get them directly to the east side like the 7 would…
Would that not be cheaper though?? I don’t know how crowded the PATH is.. Could the tubes handle the extra passengers?

My big wish would be for PATH to extend to SIR..

Bolwerk April 27, 2014 - 11:02 am

SIRT is not FRA anymore. Explanation. (Sadly the link to the source was taken down. But you won’t find anything about SIRT or Staten Island in documents like this either.)

After the politics, integration is mostly an accounting problem. They can be separate, integrated agencies. IMHO that is the best way to do it. Users needn’t care who provides their ride. Each agency can keep separate turnstiles to make accounting for transfers easier.

Ralfff April 28, 2014 - 2:49 am


smartone1 April 28, 2014 - 9:23 am

My out of box solution
Fold the Path Train into the NY Subway System
this will do 3 things

1. create opportunity it integrate the Path stations and track into the NY Subway
(if possible)

2. create a mechanism for funding

3. BREAK the psychological barrier to building a 7 train to Secacus

AG April 28, 2014 - 4:47 pm

smartone – I agree… Not sure why the ppl who compiled this report didn’t think of those points.

vsm April 25, 2015 - 2:37 am

+1 smartone1

vsm April 25, 2015 - 2:36 am

Agree with smartone1:
Make the PATH a part of NYC subway


Leave a Comment