Battle of the PATH Apps

These days, Apps are everywhere and run just about everything. There are Apps for your movie theaters, your grocery stores, and for just about any random convenience you can think of. Which is why it’s a little surprising that there isn’t an App for the PATH, that essential link between lower Manhattan, Hoboken, and a few other spots in New Jersey.

If you live in Hoboken, chances are you rely on the PATH at least somewhat. Even if you don’t work in New York, popping into the city for nightlife, culture, or other reasons very likely means you’ve familiarized yourself with the intense, soul-killing heat of the Hoboken PATH platform. And yet, amazingly, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, with runs the PATH system, has no native App for you. If you go to the “App Center” you’ll see a list of Apps that may or may not actually offer you useful info about the PATH.

Three Apps

There are, in fact, three PATH-specific Apps out there. These Apps don’t try to give you info on every single rail line in the area. They only offer PATH info, which makes them a bit more useful than Apps that try to cram in buses, subway, and light rail information as well.

PATH Train Schedule

The newest App offers both a paid and ad-supported free version. Sporting a striking interface that let’s you simply select the station you’re starting from and the destination and then displaying a countdown to the next train, it also offers an interactive schedule screen with plans to offer integrated PATH alerts in the future. Development seems to be in high gear, so there should be some expansion and progress for this App.

To the PATH and Back

This ad-supported App offers a service map (useful if you, like me, constantly forget what the Weekend service looks like), a live scheduler that tells you when the next train is coming, and an interactive trip planner that is about 80% reliable (you might have some trouble getting it to recognize your text inputs). While that’s probably most useful for out-of-towners, it might come in handy if you need to go someplace unfamiliar and ride PATH lines you’ve never used before.

PATH Train Schedule (the other one)

This similarly-named App, sadly, looks like abandonware; it simply doesn’t work. The culprit appears to be OS updates from a few years ago that no one bothered to incorporate into the App, which can be a real issue when your software is designed, coded, and maintained by a single person. When they lose interest or the App stops generating ad revenue, they simply move on with their lives and you have a useless hunk of code on your phone.

You might not need an App to master the PATH (and those of us who have lived here all our lives have an almost Force-like sense of the schedules), but Apps make everything just a little easier. What Apps do you use to get around? Let us know!



Jeffrey Somers

Staff Writer • Jeff Somers (jeffreysomers.com) is the author of 9 novels including We Are Not Good People (wearenotgoodpeople.com) and the publisher of The Inner Swine (innerswine.com). Jeff may be reach at [email protected] . Follow him on Twitter at @jeffreysomers .



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