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WTC station draws 20,000 PATH riders on first weekday

 Wednesday, November 26, 2003 By Jason Fink Jersey Journal staff writer

About 20,000 people used the new World Trade Center PATH station Monday, the first weekday that the $323 million station was in use.

That number is within the range of what officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the rail system, had expected by the end of the first year of service, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the bi-state agency.

"We're pleasantly surprised at the number," Coleman said yesterday. "We think this is good for Lower Manhattan and the region."

The 250,000 square-foot temporary station, on the eastern edge of the 16-acre site where the Twin Towers once stood, was the first public facility to open since the buildings were destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001.

Though Monday's ridership was within the anticipated range, officials were surprised that the projection was reached on the first weekday of service.

The terminal, which is called the World Trade Center PATH Station, was built over 16 months on virtually the exact site as the station that was underneath the Twin Towers. Riders can look out the windows on their way into the station from New Jersey and see the construction work being done at Ground Zero as trains move through the bathtub, or foundation, of the Trade Center.

Built to move 50,000 daily riders through its four levels, the new station will be added onto over the next several years to create the permanent, $1.7 billion transit hub envisioned as part of the redeveloped Trade Center site. The permanent station is expected to be complete by 2006.

Initial Port Authority projections were that 20,000 to 30,000 people would use the station by the end of its first year and Coleman said yesterday that it will be hard to draw any conclusions about what the daily numbers will be for another month or so.

"We really won't have an accurate trend-kind of figure until after the holidays," he said.

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