Port Authority announces plan to increase PATH capacity, reduce delays

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Thursday unveiled its "PATH Improvement Plan," which the agency says will dramatically increase capacity while also reducing delays.

The plan includes a conversion of the Newark to World Trade Center line from eight-car trains to nine-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 in capital investment:
--The ongoing $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 that will be delivered beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2022
--A new capital commitment of $80 million for station modifications to enable nine-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," Port Authority Chairman Kevin O'Toole said. "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."

Watch the full press conference:

PATH has already begun work to add two more rush hour train sets on the Newark-World Trade Center and Journal Square-33rd Street lines, optimizing between-train headways of 3 to 4 minutes on the busiest lines at the busiest times of day. The 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 Street, Hoboken-World Trade Center, and Hoboken-33rd Street lines and a 40 percent increase in Newark-World Trade Center capacity thanks to an innovative plan to accommodate nine-cars on all Newark-World Trade Center line trains and a new signal system that 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 to reduce delays will address six key causes: 1) track conditions; 2) switch failures; 3) car equipment failures 4) signal equipment issues; 5) sick passengers, and 6) unattended bags.

PATH is also 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.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the plan from the Port Authority.

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