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    PATH stations, trains will get TVs for alerts   

Thursday, August 16, 2007 By RON MARSICO NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE
 
P{ATH Trains Hudson Tubes Hudson & Manhattan RR Beginning next year, PATH passengers will get quicker access to information about problems and delays under a deal announced yesterday by the Port Authority and NBC Universal to place up-to-the-minute monitors on trains and at station platforms.

Riders will get speedy updates on emergency situations and troubles that could slow their trips, as well as better information on arrival and departure times for PATH trains, officials said. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates PATH, will be paid $1.5 million over seven years, while NBC gets exclusive access to riders who take 230,000 trips per day on the line. "This agreement provides an important service for our customers at no cost to the agency," said Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia. "It's a model agreement for advancing customers' service goals by leveraging the marketing potential of one of our facilities."

Port Authority officials said they will be able to override regular programming to "broadcast emergency situations" to riders. NBC plans to provide news, weather and sports programming, in addition to advertising.

The new monitors also represent a continuing effort to communicate better with riders during adverse conditions. Port Authority officials already provide, "PATHAlerts," which notify riders by computer, cell phone, pager, Blackberry or other hand-held device of any delays exceeding 15 minutes. NJ Transit has had a similar program, called "My Transit," since 2001.

Monitors will be installed on the 340 PATH trains on order, which the Port Authority is set to deploy between 2008 and 2011. Installation on platforms will begin next year as well. PATH provides service to Newark, Harrison, Jersey City, Hoboken, and Lower and Midtown Manhattan.

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