Wednesday, January 23, 2008

PATH Train: Shiny New Cars 4 U

The Port Authority recently announced an increase in tolls to $8 for Hudson bridge and tunnel crossings (and increased the base PATH fare to $1.75). But take a look at what they're doing with the money:
The existing 340-car fleet will be replaced, and up to 119 new cars will be added. All the old cars, most of which are about 45 years old, will be replaced by 2011. Each new car costs about $1.3 million.

The cars aren't the only improvements. PATH's signal system will be modernized at a cost of $390 million and will reduce the wait time between trains.

The agency will also spend $659 million to upgrade its 13 stations. New platforms at the Harrison and Grove Street stations will accommodate longer trains on the Newark-to-World Trade Center line.

If the PATH service is better, then the agency hopes to convince more drivers to abandon their cars and take mass transit to lessen the environmental effect of car emissions, Shorris said.

Those are the first major upgrades in 45 years. In addition, the P.A. is sinking a few billion into the new (and awkwardly named) THE Tunnel. I'd like to see them expand the PATH sytem as well. It's long past time.

Now, to make another point: the Port Authority has basically instituted "congestion pricing" on the crossings they control by jacking the tolls up and investing in transit. We need to do the same on our side, stat.

There's a case to be made for merging the MTA and the Port Authority, but that will have to wait for another post.


Mike said...

That car interior bears more than a passing resemblance to that of the NYCT R142 cars, except for the seats. There will be a lot of standing room considering they're small cars - a couple of feet shorter than the R142s. But the best news is the new signal system that's going in - full Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC), similar to the Canarsie Line CBTC but with no provisions for trains not equipped with CBTC.

BTW - back in the 1970s there was a lot of talk about extending PATH to Newark Airport. The PA wasn't too keen on the idea and it died. Much the pity too; it would have been far better than the Newark AirTrain.

gary said...

You're 100% right . . . extending the PATH out to EWR would be a far superior solution.

Instead, we get costlier solutions with higher prices, like the Airtrain.

Decades of bad policy at work.