PATH Service to Return to Hoboken Wednesday

Seven weeks after Hurricane Sandy dumped an estimated 500 million gallons of water in Hoboken, crippling its transportation network and leaving tens of thousands of commuters casting about for alternative modes of travel, officials said Tuesday that PATH train service was at last set to resume.

In a joint announcement, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said the service would return between Hoboken and 33rd Street in Manhattan beginning on Wednesday at 5 a.m. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said direct service between Hoboken and the World Trade Center was still “several weeks away,” citing ongoing work to replace damaged and destroyed signal equipment.

The trains will initially run from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., though the Port Authority said limited 24-hour service was expected in time for New Year’s Eve.

But even a partial return of the PATH to Hoboken will provide a critical connection for the most transit-reliant community in the country, where an estimated 56 percent of residents use public transportation. Most subway and bus operations in New York City returned within a week of the storm, followed by many New Jersey Transit services, but the PATH train in Hoboken has been seen as a final missing link in the region’s revived transportation system.

The Port Authority said workers had pumped more than 10 million gallons of water from tunnels and replaced much of the train system’s switching and signaling equipment.

With no PATH service, many residents waited in lines for ferries and buses, often doubling their commuting time, or endured the expense of a daily taxi ride out of the city. And with fewer visitors able to get to Hoboken, known for its bars and restaurants, downtown business owners have reported sales decreases of 25 to 70 percent since the storm.

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