It was only the first day's count, but a Port Authority of New
York and New Jersey official said yesterday (Nov. 25) that
about 20,000 PATH commuters used the rebuilt World Trade
Center station on Monday (Nov. 24), eclipsing expectations,
according to this report by Ron Marsico that appeared in the
"We were extremely grateful to see that many people back,"
said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the bi-state agency that
runs PATH. "And it just shows the importance of bringing
transportation back to Lower Manhattan."
Port Authority officials originally predicted it would take weeks,
or even months, for 20,000 to 30,000 daily commuters to return
to the station, which was used by more than 65,000 commuters
a day before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks destroyed the
entire World Trade Center complex.
The temporary station can handle 50,000 daily riders. A
permanent station is scheduled to open in late 2006.
Some of PATH's ridership came at the expense of NY Waterway,
which over the last 26 months ferried thousands of stranded
rail commuters into Lower Manhattan.
On Monday, NY Waterway ferried 13,586 people into Lower
Manhattan between 6 and 9 a.m., down from 16,033
passengers who used the ferry the previous Monday, said Pat
Smith, a spokesman for NY Waterway.
"That's a little less than expected," Smith said of the drop in
ridership. "It'll take awhile to sort out."
After Sunday's emotional reopening of the $323 million station,
the first day of commuting was marked with more poignant
reflections, but a far quicker pace as most riders rushed to their
jobs after glancing around the new confines.
Several commuters interviewed used the same phrase, "Glad to
be back," and immediately recognized that the huge bank of
new escalators is in exactly the same spot as in the old
"I think it's wonderful that they rebuilt it as fast as they did
and as well as they did," said Jovi Tenev, 50, a lawyer from
Princeton Junction, who lingered awhile on Monday to look into
the stark pit of Ground Zero.
Tears welled in his eyes as he recalled that one of his law
partners, Glenn Winuk of Long Island, a volunteer firefighter,
was killed in the collapse of the South Tower.
"It's a testament to what this country is about," Tenev said of
the new station. "We continue. We don't forget. But we
Jeff Girod, 35, of Plainfield, a human resources representative,
was impressed as he walked through the station after his first
PATH ride. "It's amazing," he said.
Girod has watched the rebuilding from his World Financial
Center office that overlooks the 16-acre Ground Zero site.
"There's still people I hear say, 'How can you stand to look?
Isn't it depressing?'" said Girod, who offers a simple answer.
"You're part of the rebirth."
(The preceding report by Ron Marsico appeared in the
Star-Ledger Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2003.)
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