Is It Worth Moving to Jersey to Save $600 on the Subway?

Perhaps the Times truly has become a national newspaper. Why else would it write a wide-eyed story about the PATH train that reads like the work of a parachute journalist and not what it actually is, a silly feature by the paper’s otherwise ace transit reporter:

It is New York’s other subway, home to oddities like hexagonal trains and sparkling-clean platform floors. Its odor, musty but not unpleasant, is unlike anything else in the city, and it stops at cross streets that can befuddle: Ninth Street in Manhattan? Really? […]

To the uninitiated, a ride on the PATH train might seem like stumbling into a Bizarro World subway. The familiar wooden benches of the subway station are replaced by curvy seats made from silver plastic. The ubiquitous security warning–“If You See Something, Say Something”–is rendered in PATHese: “You Call It In, We Check It Out.” The signage has a less graceful version of the subway’s Helvetica, and the Corinthian columns are painted an oddly vivid blue.

Ninth Street? Plastic benches? Well golly! This truly is a Bizarro World.

The conceit of the story is that after MetroCards jump up to $104 next year, an unlimited PATH card will cost almost half that, at $54, making it “the last truly underground bargin,” or, if you prefer, “a transit sample sale.” It can save you a whopping $600 per year.

But is it really a deal? For starters, most people would have to move to Jersey to score the savings–those who can afford to live in the West Village and Chelsea are probably not hard up for six Bennies. Once there, they would probably be stuck buying a MetroCard on top of their PATH SmartLink card if they have any desire to go out in Manhattan or Brooklyn ever again. That or pony up for cabs or even get a car. So much for money in the bank.

And when you consider that the PATH train has all of 13 stations, with only six in Manhattan, the value really wears off. That’s $4.15 per month per station, compared to the 22 cents MTA riders pay for their 468 stations. The Observer will stick to its stinky, rat-infested system, thank you very much.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @mc_nyo

Is It Worth Moving to Jersey to Save $600 on the Subway?