PATH: “crowded cattle cars”
Attention PATH riders!
Below is an article from yesterdays NY Times. Their correspondent Billie Cohen’s objective in January was to write about the various commutes around the tri-state area.
This piece was in the Real Estate section (I guess to “educate” potential buyers in the New York area? To help real estate sales perhaps?)
Most of us already knew this, but she was surprised to find out that many folks didn’t live so close by, despite being on the PATH. It was just another leg in their long daily journey. What are your thoughts of her observations?
Next Stop: PATH Train From Hoboken…
8:02 a.m., Jan. 23 Wednesday.
I had expected, perhaps swayed by optimistic real estate trend reports of the past few years, to see the Manhattan-bound PATH trains from Hoboken and Jersey City packed with young transplants who’d moved to the state’s urban enclaves for their affordability and up-and-coming status.
Conceivably my timing was off, or I wasn’t on the train that was shuttling those young Jersey urbanites, because most of the commuters I encountered actually lived farther out in New Jersey, and yes — despite all jokes to the contrary — they were happy to be living there. Even if it meant commuting in such crowded cattle cars.
Tiffany Harrington, a TV producer who lives in Plainfield, N.J., moved there 10 months ago from Piscataway, N.J., where she had been living at home. Now, instead of taking New Jersey Transit’s crowded Northeast Corridor train from Edison and then transferring to the subway, Ms. Harrington takes a different New Jersey Transit train to the PATH station at Journal Square in Jersey City, where she catches a train to Christopher Street in Manhattan. “My commute is actually a little bit cheaper now,” she said. “The change doesn’t bother me. The cost is less and I’m living on my own, so it all works out.”
Another commuter, Jodie Zales, was also new to the PATH train because of a recent move. Though she relocated to Hoboken from Union, N.J. I asked here why she didn’t move all of the way into the boroughs. “It’s cheaper than the city, a tad cheaper,” she said, adding, “I grew up in Jersey, so I’m a Jersey girl.”
Since she works long hours as a production manager, Ms. Zales is a satisfied convert to the PATH, which is just one straight shot to her stop at 23rd Street. “As far as commuting, it’s a relief. I don’t have to worry about catching the last bus,” she said. “I also like Hoboken. I like having stores right at the corner. Of course, parking sucks.”
Other commuters I interrupted from their quick morning naps had ditched city life for greener backyards and bigger houses. Andrew Chan and his wife moved to West Orange, N.J., seven years ago from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. “The main thing was housing. It was pretty inexpensive at that time and we wanted more room,” he said. The commute, he added, was an afterthought. “At the time, I didn’t think too much about it, but after we found a place, I looked at a few maps and talked to neighbors. We could take an express bus to the city, but it’s over $200 a month for one person.”
Instead, he opted for the PATH, which keeps costs down. He still has to drive to the Harrison station, and parking there has gone up in price. “Harrison used to have more affordable parking,” Mr. Chan said. “Now with development going on there, it’s about 50 percent more expensive than a year ago.” To save money, his wife drives him to the station.
Overall, it seemed like people living near PATH stations in New Jersey were most similar to commuters who take Metro-North trains. Those who resided closer to the city wanted to be near their jobs, and those who’d moved farther out wanted more space for their family.
Some observations: On both trains I took this morning there were more men than women. Do the wives all stay home in New Jersey, or work closer to their homes? Also, PATH trains have much more standing room than the subway, but there were fewer seats.