The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey unveiled the PATH Improvement Plan, which will provide major capacity increases across the PATH system by 2022, including a conversion of the Newark to WTC line from 8-car trains to 9-car trains running every three minutes during the peak of rush hour periods. In addition, the Plan outlines a detailed, six-point delay reduction initiative to be implemented over the next 30-months, a new fare payment system to be introduced by 2022, and a set of customer service initiatives.
The capacity increases rely on more than $1 billion dollars in capital investment – the on-going $750 million investment in a new signal system that enables PATH to run more trains per hour. The prior commitment of $215.7 million for 72 new rail cars which will be delivered beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2022, and a new capital commitment of $80 million for station modifications to enable 9-car trains on the Newark to WTC line. PATH will commit an additional $50 million to delay reduction and customer service initiatives.
“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. “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.”
“We want this Plan to be game-changing. Increasing the carrying capacity of a legacy rail system by 20-40% in a three-year period is almost unheard of, but PATH is making that commitment. We also recognize that the PATH system has been plagued by excessive delays. PATH’s six-point delay reduction program tackles this challenge head-on, with a commitment to deliver substantial and measurable improvements. We owe PATH customers improved service, and this Plan commits to deliver that improvement,” said Executive Director Rick Cotton.
“PATH is committed to increasing capacity and meeting the needs of our growing ridership,” said Director of PATH Clarelle DeGraffe. “This plan addresses some of our PATH riders’ biggest concerns, especially with the attention to platform safety, better communication, and a user-friendly fare payment system, while ensuring that we intensify the repair and maintenance of our existing system.”
PATH has already begun work to add two more rush hour train sets on the NWK-WTC and Journal Square-33rd St lines, optimizing between-train headways of 3-4 minutes on the busiest lines at the busiest times of day. This shift will increase capacity by 10 percent on these lines by September 2019.
By 2022, PATH anticipates an additional 20 percent increase in capacity on the Journal Square-33rd St, Hoboken-WTC, and Hoboken-WTC lines and a 40 percent increase in NWK-WTC capacity thanks to an innovative plan to accommodate 9-cars on all NWK-WTC line trains and a new signal system which will enable trains to run more frequently.
In 2017, PATH invested $215.7 million in 72 new train cars to add to the existing fleet of 350 cars; the first of the new cars will be put in service beginning in 2021. To accommodate longer trains, PATH has proposed significant improvements at the Grove Street Station, with a planned investment of $80 million to tear down existing walls and extend the existing platform. Station modifications are also planned for Exchange Place Station to open additional corridors for emergency exits.
The initiative will address six key causes of delay: 1) track conditions; 2) switch failures; 3) car equipment failures 4) signal equipment issues; 5) sick passengers, and 6) unattended bags.
Enhance Customer Experience
PATH is committed to improving riders’ experience at each part of their journey by implementing a new fare payment system integrated with the MTA’s new OMNY system, improving in-station, on-train and online alerts and announcements to provide more information in a timely and transparent way, and addressing platform crowding.
This bold, forward-thinking vision for the PATH system comes at a time of increased demand for accountability for transit agencies across New York and New Jersey. PATH will make performance metrics available to the public as the PATH Improvement Plan is approved, implemented, and completed in the next 30-month period.