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Red Bull fans could be looking at even worse PATH service

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If you thought the weekend shutdowns because of the WTC construction was bad, will you be happy with the proposed changes?

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo commissioned a special panel to provide a report on the Port Authority & PATH. If the report is acted on, it could spell problems for New York Red Bulls fans who already rely on the service. Here's what I've taken away from what is being reported by nj.com.

Elimination of overnight PATH service

While this won't affect 90%-95% of Red Bulls fans, for those who want to enjoy a late night out in Harrison and Newark would have to start planning an earlier trip back if this takes effect. The plan calls for service to be stopped between 1 and 5 am on weeknights and suggested eliminating overnight weekend service as well, but did leave the possibility to running buses as an alternative.

Turning the operation over to an outside organization

Are you ready for higher fees to ride the PATH? If it's turned over to an outside group (especially a private one), you can expect rate hikes, although the report touts possible cost reductions. The mention of avoiding regulatory requirements is a little troubling.

The report also said the Port Authority should "pursue the possibility of partnering with a third party operator, public or private, that manages urban transit or commuter rail service in order to improve the PATH’s operational effectiveness and financial efficiency." That operator, the report said, could be outside the realm of the Federal Railroad Administration,"enabling a reduction in expenses resulting from these higher regulatory requirements currently imposed on the system."

It's not the final plan, but it probably is

Degnan, the Port Authority chairman, stressed that the ideas in the report are not final.

"The PATH is losing $300 million a year. That is not a sustainable trajectory for the Port Authority, so we’ve got to find a way to make its operations more efficient," Degnan said."The last option for me would be a curtailment of service. But in reality, if you’re looking at the costs, there are a very, very small number of people who use the PATH between midnight and 5 a.m. on weekends, and more so on weeknights."

Degnan also noted that a third party operator to run the PATH could be a public entity like NJ Transit. And he said the PATH could seek to reclassify itself as an urban transit system in order to qualify for federal funds.

"No one idea is fix it all," Degnan said.

However, the report was commissioned by the governors of NY & NJ, who each vetoed legislation to overhaul the Port Authority.

The Port Authority report was written by a special panel appointed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The two governors endorsed its recommendations Saturday as they vetoed more far-reaching legislation to overhaul the agency that passed their states’ Legislatures without opposition.

The legislation was written in the wake of the scandal over the closure of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge by Gov. Chris Christie's aides.

"It’s a total distortion of the original purpose of why these reforms were necessary," Fulop said of the report. "These reforms were necessary because of corruption, not because of the need to limit access to public transportation."

It's obviously still early, but what do you think of any more changes to the PATH? Would you be OK with this? Let us know in the comments.