JERSEY CITY - Despite objections from Jersey City commuters, weekend closures of the PATH rail to Exchange Place and World Trade Center have begun.
Riders attended a meeting Tuesday with Port Authority officials expressing concerns about the weekend shutdowns, saying they would be cut off from jobs, school and other obligations in Manhattan.
The Port Authority says construction work to comply with a federal deadline to implement new safety equipment could last up to 43 weeks.
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The work was partially completed before Superstorm Sandy washed it away. "All the equipment that's in there, that's electrical, was destroyed," says Port Authority spokesperson Steven Kingsberry. "And we had to replace it piece by piece."
From 11 p.m. Friday until 4:45 a.m. Monday, passengers traveling from Newark or Harrison will have to transfer at Journal Square, then take the PATH to Hoboken before arriving on 33rd Street.
"If you live down here, this is the quickest way to get to the city," says Gail Payton, of Plainfield. "You have to travel over to the Grove Street stop so it kinda puts you at an inconvenience."
The Port Authority says closures will affect nearly 20,000 trips each weekend and that's why some riders' rights groups are calling for discounted ferries or shuttles to lower Manhattan to keep costs down.
The last train leaving from Newark to World Trade leaves at 11:20 p.m. and the last train from World Trade back to Newark is at 11:55 p.m.
The upgrades to the routes will cost $60 million