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With daily ridership on the PATH train hitting record highs, the Port Authority has announced a new plan to ease the crowds and provide improved service. Over the next three years, the PATH will get a new signal system, 72 new rail cars, and increase capacity by up to 40 percent on its Newark-World Trade Center Route—that means room for about 18,000 extra riders during rush hour—by running longer, nine-car trains. “We want this plan to be game-changing,” said Executive Director Rick Cotton.
PATH has already begun adding two additional trains on the Newark-WTC and Journal Square-33rd Street lines during rush hour, which will soon increase capacity on those lines by 10 percent. By 2022, PATH anticipates additional increases in capacity—20 percent at most stations and up to 40 percent on the Newark-WTC line—by switching to nine-car trains and implementing a new signal system that will allow trains to run more frequently.
The capacity increases rely on more than $1 billion dollars in capital investment. This includes a $750 million investment in the new signal system, the $215.7 million investment made in 2017 for 72 new train cars (those new cars will start being put into service in 2021), $80 million for station modifications to accommodate nine-car trains, and an additional $50 million in customer service initiatives, including efforts to manage crowding, improved in-station and on-train announcements, and a new fare payment system integrated with the MTA’s new OMNY system.
“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.”
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