The Future Looks Bright For Bombardier Transportation, And The Port Authority Of New York And New Jersey
Last year, to kick-off my journey to a memorable 9 days cruise in the Aegean Sea, I rode the AirTrain from Jamaica Station in Queens to the British Airways International Terminal at JFK with calm. The trains were so efficient and well integrated into the MTA Metro Card system that transferring between the AirTrain and the Subway was significantly stress-free.
As of August of that same year, the New York Times reported that “passenger traffic on the Kennedy and Newark AirTrains, also operated by the Port Authority, was 1.4 percent higher in the first five months of this year than the same period last year. About 11% of all travelers arriving at or departing from JFK use AirTrain, according to the Port Authority, which operates AirTrain and JFK.”
Earlier reports of daily paid ridership on the system has been steadily rising. According to Wikipedia, “Ridership increased from 7,700 per day in June 2004 to nearly 11,300 per day in June 2006. Meanwhile, nearly four times as many people are taking AirTrain for free each day to travel between the airport's seven active terminals and parking lots.”
The growing popularity of AirTrain also reflects a passenger boom at JFK airport. The number of people passing through the airport jumped from 31.7 million in 2003 to an estimated 41 million in 2006. Roughly 4 million people rode the train to JFK in 2006, an increase of about 15% over 2005.”
In particular, a couple of transportation and infrastructure projects currently in the pipeline look to dramatically increase ridership demands on the system as early as 2013, when Delta anticipates completion of its expansion of Terminal 4 at JFK Airport.
Currently, Delta “handles nearly one-quarter of Kennedy’s 46 million annual passengers.” With an expanded, modern new terminal hub, my estimate is this would likely double Delta’s passenger flow at JFK within the first 5 years.
In addition, the current public works project undertaken by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to bring greater service and connections to Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) passengers through the construction of a connecting link at Grand Central, would dynamically alter the passenger frequency at Jamaica Station, where both the AirTrain and the LIRR connect. Although operation of the East Side Access Project is not expected until 2016, commuting patterns are destined to be hyper-altered, given that Metro-North and Amtrak passenger service will then have service access connections to JFK via the AirTrain at Jamaica Station.
This is likely to expand the current 32-car fleet of AirTrains, and possibly include additional track and stations to facilitate more transfers and connections over the next decade. As the AirTrain JFK system grows, new jobs and revenue will aid to the overall metropolitan economy, which will usher project developments through various interest groups and stakeholders, ultimately adding value and sustainment to the New York City travel industry.
Originally written by Fernando Arias at FutureTransport US