NJ transport chief urges no PATH cutbacks

Written by Douglas John Bowen
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If New Jersey's transportation commissioner gets his way, no cutbacks will occur to PATH overnight service linking the Garden State and Manhattan, despite a report commissioned by the governors of New Jersey and New York recommending such cutbacks be evaluated.

“This is not the way I would save money,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox, who also serves as New Jersey Transit chairman. Fox made the statement Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, at a meeting of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for 13 northern New Jersey counties. “Mass transit is the future of this state,” Fox said.

A report issued late last month by PATH’s parent, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PA), commissioned by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, suggested the termination of PATH service between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. on weeknights, along with possible weekend service cutbacks, as one of several cost-saving measures the PA could institute.

The report strongly suggested that low ridership numbers during overnight hours justified such a move, but the validity of the ridership numbers, along with recommendations of “bustitution,” was strongly challenged by elected officials in Hudson and Essex counties, served by PATH, as well as the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers, the statewide advocacy group.

Some local officials privately told Railway Age that their own private discussions with PA counterparts indicated the PA itself was loathe to enact cutbacks in PATH service. But Fox’s statement to the NJTPA Monday was a significant and publica reinforcement of such sentiment.

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