PATH: Pro’s and Con’s
The PATH Train is by far the cheapest way to cross the Hudson into NYC. For $3.50 round-trip and the (in)convenience of leaving the car at home, I get a host of time-wasting and anger inducing perks, such as
- Slow moving trains.
- Mechanical Problems in both old and new cars that require everyone to depart.
- Old cars taking “breaks” between stops.
- Old cars choosing between running and keeping the lights on.
- A ride so shaky I was genuinely afraid the train would derail.
- The joys of a packed train.
- Delays at Newark Penn stations which plays out as “how many people can we fit in the platform?”
- Wildly inconsistent and unpredictable arrival times.
- Did I mention old cars? The average age of the fleet is 42 years.
- Stations that act as the city’s radiator.
- Occasionally sprinting from a slow PATH train to a departing NJ Transit train.
Only the combined intellect of the state of New York and New Jersey can come up with such a craptacular system (they’re also in charge of rebuilding WTC, 8 years and it’s still looks like a graveyard). It’s systems like the PATH that makes me skeptical of governments in general providing services to its people. They claim to save my money but they have no qualms to waste my time (and for most commuters, time wasted is opportunity costs wasted). Sometimes I wish we were like Japan, which managed to waste monumental amount of money on infrastructure, but at least their trains run on time.
I currently have a 3.5 hour commute, so I consider my time to be precious. How much would it cost for PATH to realize that?
Update: You can tell when a operator sucks at the job. They would speed through the tunnels and, right before a station, would go to a complete stop and then slowly roll into the station. That’s not really a problem, until you reach 33rd st and this happens.