General Business

PATH Receives Highest Accolade from the American Public Transportation Association

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced that its PATH rail system has received the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) highest honor, earning its 2022 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award for railroads with more than 20 million riders annually.

APTA cited the development and implementation of the $1 billion PATH Improvement Plan (PIP) as a key factor in its decision. The PIP, which was rolled out in 2019, had three components, including increased capacity, reduced delays through an expanded maintenance program, and enhanced customer experience through new technology and additional personnel. In the plan, capacity is increased through the acquisition of additional rail cars, expansion of station platforms to accommodate 9-car trains versus today’s 8-car trains, and utilization of a new signal system to run trains more frequently, particularly during morning and evening rush hours.

The 2022 APTA Awards recognize organizations and leaders in the public transportation industry in North America that have demonstrated significant leadership, high standards of excellence, and innovations that greatly advance public transportation. The association comprises more than 1,500 public and private member organizations across the industry.

“This is an extraordinary honor for PATH, and a well-deserved recognition of its caliber of leadership and the dedication of the PATH workforce to its customers, day in and day out,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “It’s also a measure of the value the Board and our executive leadership places on customer service across the agency.”

“The PATH Improvement Plan is the foundation of the Port Authority’s effort to move its performance up the curve by increasing capacity, reducing delays, and improving the customer experience,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “We appreciate APTA’s recognition of the scope and ambition of PATH’s initiative.”

“PATH’s commitment to best-in-class service and to keeping the region moving will never falter,” said PATH Director Clarelle DeGraffe. “Every day that we come to work, our mission is clear: to provide the best possible service to those who rely on us to make sure they get to and from their destinations with a minimum of fuss.”

In addition to the PATH Improvement Plan, PATH has made significant improvements to the system through storm and flood resiliency projects at the Hoboken, Newport, Harrison, and Exchange Place stations. It has introduced countdown clocks and cellular service at stations, implemented interactive kiosks, and redesigned fare zones to reduce lines for a better customer journey. A new headhouse is also under construction at the Harrison station.

“When APTA recognizes members and these organizations with awards, it is because they have truly earned this opportunity to be celebrated. I am proud of their achievements and continually excited by the way they help move our industry forward,” said Jeff Nelson, APTA Chair and CEO/Managing Director of the Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District in Illinois.

The award comes as ridership continues to recover from its low periods during the pandemic. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, PATH averaged more 281,000 riders per weekday and served more than 81 million riders in total during 2019. The railroad’s passenger numbers currently stand at about 50%of pre-pandemic ridership, although June ridership numbers rose to roughly 56% of June 2019 figures and showed a marked increase over May 2022 daily ridership.

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