from Madison Square Garden, the busiest piece of real
estate in the metropolitan area during the week of the
Republican Convention just might be Hoboken Terminal.
During the four days of
the convention - Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 - NJ Transit plans
to reroute all 100 of its daily Midtown Direct trains to
the terminal, where commuters can hop on a PATH train or
take a ferry across to Manhattan. The change, aimed at
alleviating congestion in the area of the convention,
amounts to an addition- al 13,000 daily commuters
passing through the Hoboken hub. Already, 23,200 PATH
train riders use the terminal on a normal day, officials
In addition to the
increased number of passengers, PATH workers will have
to cope with a system of cross-honoring the rail passes
of NJ Transit commuters. An additional 20 employees will
be assigned to verify the rail passes of the NJ Transit
commuters at the Hoboken Terminal and the PATH's six
Manhattan stops, explained Steve Coleman, a spokesman
for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which
operates the PATH trains. The NJ Transit commuters will
be ushered through gates, as opposed to the turnstiles
used by the PATH riders, Coleman said.
The cross-honoring system
will be in place Monday through Friday of convention
week, 6 a.m. to midnight, at the Hoboken, World Trade
Center, and 14th, 23rd, and 33rd Streets stops, he said.
At the Christopher and
9th Streets stops in Manhattan, the system will be in
effect from 6 to 10 a.m. and then again from 4 to 8
p.m., Coleman noted. The number of rush hour trains
departing from Hoboken will also be bumped up from one
every six minutes to one every five minutes, he said.
New York Waterway, which
runs ferry service from Hoboken to the World Financial
Center and Pier 11 at the foot of Wall Street, will also
honor the NJ Transit rail passes, said Pat Smith, a
spokesman for the company, but there are no plans to
alter ferry service.
"We are ready to
work with New Jersey Transit to handle anything they ask
us to handle," Smith said recently. "Our boats
leave every 10 or 15 minutes so if there are more people
coming in, we can just add extra boats. It is a very
flexible and adaptable system."
Hoboken Mayor David
Roberts was equally confident transportation officials
can muster an adequate response.
"We have every
reason to believe that Hoboken can handle the additional
commuters," Roberts commented recently. "It
wasn't long ago that we had all those people before
Midtown Direct was put into service."
NJ Transit train riders
will notice a few changes in line with stepped up
security for the convention.
A temporary ban on use of
overhead luggage racks will be in effect during
convention week and all on-board trash receptacles will
be sealed, said NJ Transit spokeswoman Janet Hines.
Police will also search all the Manhattan-bound trains,
she added. Before the trains enter the Amtrak tunnel
leading into Penn Station in New York City, on-board
inspections will be conducted on the Northeast Corridor
trains, which will continue to roll into the midtown
train station, Hines said.
As for bus service in and
out of the Port Authority Midtown Bus Terminal,
everything will operate normally, Coleman said. Although
security checks will be beefed up at all Hudson River
crossings, Coleman said he didn't major delays except at
the Lincoln Tunnel.
Journal staff writers
Bonnie Friedman and Christian Adamkiewicz contributed to