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PATH SmartCard use grows as part of overall rail modernization program

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February 14, 2001 Sales of SmartCards for travel on PATH trains has hit a record, jumping to more than 50 percent of market share on the rail line. SmartCard use, which has tripled in two years, has eclipsed use of MetroCards, which total about 40 percent of payment methods on PATH lines. PATH QuickCards make up most of the remainder of fare choices. PATH's Automated Fare Collection System was installed in 2003 to phase-out obsolete payment methods of cash and magnetic-strip cards.

PATH SmartLink is a
plastic, state-of-the-art contactless card that features an embedded computer
chip that tracks the number of PATH trips available or travel days remaining
for a customer. Cards may be automatically replenished when linked to a
customer’s credit card.

Growth of SmartCard is just
one of the Port Authority’s efforts to upgrade PATH from one of the nation’s
oldest rail systems to one of the most modern. The 10-year, multi-billion
dollar program calls for replacing all 340 PATH railcars by 2011, replacing the
line’s signal system and modernizing stations.

In 2010, the Port
Authority’s overall $3.1-billion capital budget includes $357 million for
capital spending on PATH projects to help create a 21st Century system that
ensures the rail line’s long-term viability, improves reliability and protects
the safety of our riders. Last year alone, PATH handled nearly 72.6 million
passengers.

Replacement of older rail
cars, some of which date to the mid-1960s, is well under way, with more than
one-third of the entire new 340-car fleet already delivered by the
Yonkers-based manufacturer, Kawasaki Rail Car. A total of 102 new trains
already are in full service, with 17 others in the acceptance test phase. Another
91 railcars are anticipated for delivery by year’s end, with the remainder on
track to arrive in 2011.

"Our multi-billion
investment in PATH is helping to transform it into the nation’s most modern
commuter rail system – from the way customers pay to the cars they ride in,’
said Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia. "We are keeping our long-term
promise to invest in mass-transit to help ease traffic congestion and improve
the region’s quality of life."

"Investing in PATH is
an investment in our region’s mobility,’ said Bill Baroni, the Port Authority’s
deputy executive director. "For nearly 50 years, the Port Authority has
operated PATH, saving it from bankruptcy at the outset and embarking on the
modernization program in recent years. We want to make sure PATH is a model
transit system for the nation over the next half-century."

PATH’s antiquated,
mechanical signal system is giving way to a state-of-the-art, computerized
signal system that will improve reliability, safety and operations. The upgrade
means less distance will be required between trains, increasing system capacity
by up to 20 percent when the entire project is scheduled for completion by the
end of 2015.

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