Hold PATH accountable for overcrowded trains

Dear Editor:
Thought experiment: What if Mayor Zimmer declared that the city needed to save money in the parking enforcement budget, so every weekend she would install jersey barriers in parking lanes on the north and west sides of every city street. Available parking would be reduced by half. When asked why, she’d shrug and say, “It’s the weekend. People aren’t working.”
That’s illogical and absurd, but it happens every weekend with the PATH system. From 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, PATH runs 76 trains to 33rd Street – 38 from Hoboken and 38 from Journal Square. On weekends, Journal Square and Hoboken share the line, and there are only 36 trains in those six hours. That’s not enough.
I wish that I could write that trains are at 175 percent or 225 percent of capacity. I can’t, because the Port Authority does not release usable data. I can confirm that New Jersey bound trains are already standing room only at 33rd Street on weekends, with four more NYC stops to go.
Normally, a mayor fighting the Port Authority will be ignored at best or punished at worst. But the recent cuts to Hoboken rush hour weekday service and the George Washington Bridge fiasco has the beneficial side effect of, rightly, demonizing the Port Authority. Politically, the mayors of Hoboken, Jersey City, Harrison, and Newark will lose nothing if they demand more. Maybe DeBlasio can join in the fight, since those thousands of passengers go into Manhattan every hour to work, eat, or drink – in other words, to pay New York City taxes.
Christie and Cuomo are both weakened by corruption investigations, so they have diminished capacity to exact revenge. Why not use that leverage to make them do something good?

Pat Calligy

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