Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Backlash against possible PATH service reductions mount

Even in the twilight of the holiday period, there's mounting criticism since the Port Authority report targeted service on the PATH for weekday and weekend overnight elimination of service.



First, the PATH's own rider's council announced:

The PATH Riders' Council is strongly opposed to any reduction in PATH service that would adversely impact the communities it serves. We vigorously oppose the suggestion by the special panel convened by Governors Christie and Cuomo to eliminate weekday and weekend overnight service. The proposal itself comes at a time when PATH is experiencing record ridership numbers, when jobs and commuting patterns no longer follow the traditional 9-5pm, and when governments throughout the region and country are investing – not divesting – in transit. The $10M cost reduction – a tiny portion of the Port Authority's $7.8B budget – would be devastating for communities on both sides of the Hudson, especially for hard-working New Yorkers and New Jerseyans in industries like construction, healthcare, and hospitality who rely on PATH to come home from an overnight job or commute to a job with an early morning start.

It would be devastating to a region that relies on mass transit more than any other in the country. Hoboken, one of the cities served by PATH, has the highest rate of transit ridership in the nation at 56%. Jersey City has the second highest rate of transit usage (45.8%) among cities with 100,000 more residents, second only to New York City’s 55.7%, according to the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey. 

PATH is the lifeblood for communities and working families on both sides of the Hudson who rely on the system 24/7 to get to work, to school, to see family and friends.  To eliminate overnight service at a time when more and more families rely on this service is simply unconscionable.
Ya-Ting Liu, Chair
Stewart Mader, Vice Chair
PATH Riders' Council
Stewart Mader details more on his Gotham & Hudson website, which also holds a link on MSV's list of local websites of interest.

Then Carmelo Garcia who had endorsed Gov. Christie in order to obtain State Senator Brian Stack's backing to gain an Assembly seat on his coveted 2013 ticket offered:

“A plan being considered by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to possibly eliminate overnight PATH train service is a bad idea that could have a devastating impact on thousands of commuters.  Many of the 244,000 riders who use the PATH every week are hardworking residents from my district in Hudson County.  Cutting this rail service would cut their livelihood because many of these working class citizens with limited resources would have no affordable alternative
to get to and from work in the middle of the night.  White collar workers, revelers, and tourists would also be left scrambling trying to find a way back across the Hudson River.  

Reducing PATH service could also impact the state and local economy.  Transit hubs like Hoboken, where more than 50% of residents rely on public transportation, owe much of their growth to rail service like the PATH.  The 24/7 public transit access to New York City sets these communities apart from the rest.  And the state has made an investment in promoting transit hubs to help ease congestion and negative impacts to the environment.

As the sole member of the Assembly Transportation Committee whose district is home to multiple PATH stations in several municipalities, I know firsthand how vital this service is to our residents.  Over the past several months I have been working with a variety of neighborhood groups and constituents to try to expand our transportation options.  I concur with the Mayors of Jersey City and Hoboken who believe that cutting service would be counterproductive.  While some say it’s merely a recommendation, it’s definitely an off track one that will hurt riders in both Hudson and Essex Counties.  So let’s get on the right track and work together to increase public transit not decrease it.”