By Port Authority Media Relations Staff
This certainly wasn’t the normal morning PATH commute through the Hoboken Terminal. Thousands of additional NJ Transit commuters, diverted to the Hoboken station with the start of major Amtrak infrastructure work at New York Penn Station, flooded PATH platforms for rides into Midtown Manhattan and to the World Trade Center.
But Day One of what some have dubbed the transit “Summer of Hell” went off with very few hitches during the morning rush. Port Authority “Ambassadors” positioned at turnstiles in bright yellow vests checked NJT tickets as part of PATH’s cross-honoring operation, and answered questions from quizzical riders.
Peak ridership between 8-9 a.m. filled the passageway between the terminal concourse and PATH turnstiles, but customers kept moving. Rail cars on the Hoboken-33rd line were more crowded than usual, and extra Port Authority Police were assigned to the station incase their assistance was needed. There were no major issues. PATH employees and site volunteers worked hand-in-glove with their NJT colleagues to put their transportation game plans into action.
“All in all, everything is going well so far,” said PATH General Manager/Director Mike Marino, toward the end of the peak morning commuting period. “We want to thank and commend the riding public for their patience, cooperation and good spirits during what could have been a far more challenging morning commute.”
Successful execution is always the by-product of effective planning, and PATH has been preparing its response to the Amtrak summer service outages for several months. Marino and his team have been meeting regularly with regional transportation partners – NJT, Amtrak and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) – to devise a comprehensive plan to ease the upcoming transit burdens on passengers, most recently during a Friday session hosted by the Port Authority’s Office of Emergency Management.
Between now and Sept, 1, when this phase of the Amtrak project is scheduled for completion, PATH is adding approximately 9,200 more rider slots during the morning and evening peak commutes, by reducing the time between trains from Hoboken to 33rd Street and back from seven to five minutes.
Affected NJT riders who normally travel directly to New York Penn Station are being cross-honored at Hoboken, 33rd Street and the WTC. Cross-honoring is not an option at Newark Penn Station or other PATH stations.
PATH riders expecting to use the Hoboken station for the duration of the New York Penn Station project are urged to purchase PATH fares in advance to save time and avoid lines at ticket machines near the turnstiles. They are also asked to allow extra time for their commute, travel outside the peak periods if possible, move to the train’s center to allow additional passengers to board – and travel light. Leave the overstuffed backpack at home unless absolutely necessary, and don’t leave bags behind on the train or platform. That can cause security concerns and delay train service.