Quoted on radio station WNYC (June 14), New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority chair Joseph Lhota says that there are solutions to the capacity limits at New York’s Penn Station—if the railroads using the busy terminal would cooperate more. Lhota said there are three ways to increase capacity: longer platforms, more sharing of platforms among the three railroads (NJ Transit, MTA’s Long Island Rail Road, and Amtrak), and sharing of tracks, particularly if trains would be scheduled to run straight through the station, serving customers both east and west— the MTA/NJT cooperative service from Connecticut to New Jersey for fall football games shows that this is feasible.
The Lackawanna Coalition believes that increased cooperation between the various operating agencies is vital to an efficient regional transportation network; through-running, a unified fare system, coordinated schedules, and compatible equipment all have a part to play. Until additional tunnels can be built under the Hudson, however, rush-hour capacity to New Jersey appears limited to the number of trains currently in service; the tunnels simply cannot handle more trains. In the near term, it appears that if demand on NJT and Amtrak trains continues to increase, solutions will involve increased use of the Hoboken gateway and economic incentives to encourage travel outside of peak periods.