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    New cars are on the way for PATH   

Thursday, March 01, 2007 By DORINE BETHEA JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
The Jersey Journal The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is investing big dollars to replace its fleet of PATH trains. The oldest fleet in the country, PATH cars have been in existence for more than 30 years.

Marc LaVorgna, a spokesman for the Port Authority, which runs the system, said the cars are an average of 33 years old. Between next year and 2011, Port Authority officials say 340 new cars will be rolled out. LaVorgna said the new cars will have three doors on each side, as opposed to the two that cars now have. The doors will also be larger on the new trains.

Kawasaki Rail Car has a $499 million contract to build the new cars. "It is the largest investment in the system since Port Authority acquired the PATH in 1962," La Vorgna said. "We've invested millions. . We think riders will be very pleased."

PATH carries about 230,000 passengers per day - slightly fewer than its pre-9/11 ridership - between Newark, Hudson County and New York.

Josephine Varsi, of Hudson County, has been using the PATH to commute into New York nearly half her life. Aware that new trains are coming, Varsi said she welcomes "anything that makes the ride more pleasant as long as the lighting is good." The Kawasaki-built cars are expected to have better heating and lighting. Varsi said she has no qualms about service or the trains' condition. "It's a world better than the subway," she said. "It's a smaller line so it doesn't face the same obstacles as New York faces." Her peeve is with people who leave empty beverage cans, spilled liquids and debris behind once they exit.

Gloria Bellido, 54, of Linden, treks into the city to shop two or three times a year. Even though the cars are old, she said, she does not have much to complain about. "It's good because it saves us money," she said.

© 2007 The Jersey Journal

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