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Port authority’s path system reports record ridership in 2011:

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The Port Authority’s PATH rail system reported record ridership in 2011, with 76.6 million commuter trips made during the year, the highest number since the agency took over operation of the system in 1962. The record ridership follows the investment of more than $1 billion in PATH over the past four years for new cars, station upgrades and commencement of installation of a new signal system. The record ridership surpassed the previous record of 74.9 million commuter trips in 2008 by 1.7 million trips. The 2011 ridership number represents a 3.6 percent increase compared to 2010. The increase in PATH ridership mirrors a trend of strong increases in transit ridership around the region, and around the country, as the traveling public seeks transportation alternatives. Port Authority Chairman David Samson said, “Our multibillion-dollar commitment to transform PATH into a 21st century rail system has paid dividends. More people are taking notice of what PATH has to offer and are choosing it as their preferred mode of travel between New York and New Jersey.” Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said, “We continue to make significant investments in PATH, to provide our customers a quality mass-transit alternative to cross the Hudson for work, to see family, or a night out. Our customers have asked for new cars and upgraded stations and we are listening. PATH now has an entirely new 340-car fleet, and renovations are being made to stations throughout the system. And our new PATH signal system, when it is fully installed, will help meet the on-time performance standards and reliability that our customers demand.” Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni said, “We have been good stewards of this 104-year-old system – which is a lifeline between the two states – for many years, and our efforts will continue to ensure it remains a customer-friendly, efficient mode of travel to support the needs of commuters going to work on both sides of the Hudson.” In addition to record ridership, 2011 was a significant year for the Port Authority’s ongoing investment in PATH. In November, the Port Authority put the last of its 340 new rail cars into service, completing a three-year, $744 million program that created 700 jobs. The new cars included several new features, including three-door sets on each side of a car, allowing for faster exit and entry, improved lighting, heating and air-conditioning, and informational videos on each train. PATH cars were not the only things being replaced and modernized. Several stations are seeing upgrades as well: Harrison and Hoboken stations are both undergoing renovation. The World Trade Center-Newark line also will see renovations as the platforms eventually will be extended to accommodate 10-car trains, an improvement that will help increase system capacity. The installation of a computerized signal system also is under way, with signals being replaced throughout PATH’s 43 track miles and 13 stations. This $400 million upgrade will result in fewer PATH delays, increased numbers of trains running at any given time and improvements in overall safety and efficiency. The Christopher Street substation, which provides electrical power to the branch of the PATH system that goes to 33rd Street in Manhattan, also is being upgraded. The larger capacity of the upgraded power system will improve reliability and meet the demand for power resulting from increased service. During a typical weekday, approximately 256,000 trips are made on PATH system. Weekend ridership also is up, as approximately 211,000 trips are made. This represents a 2 percent increase in weekend ridership from 2010. The Harrison station exhibited the strongest weekday growth of all PATH stations at 8.7 percent. (The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey - posted 1/26)


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