I suspect most of my readers know the typical ups and downs of the different ways of getting from Hoboken to the city. The PATH is far from campus and hotter than an oven, the 126 bus subjects us to the misery of Port Authority Bus Terminal, and the ferry is too expensive. I’m going to compare these and throw in some bonus information at the end.
First, let’s look at the PATH. At $2.75 per trip, or $2.10 if you buy 10 trips, it’s certainly the cheapest way to cross the river. Another thing going for the PATH is that it has a lot of stops in the city. There are five stops in New York on the 33rd street line and a stop at the World Trade Center. The 33rd street stop is a block away from Penn Station, so it’s easy to get to long-distance trains there. There are also a lot of subways at or near WTC, so that’s a big plus. Its first downside is that if you live in uptown Hoboken or upper campus, it’s the farthest walk. Additionally, it’s simply soul crushing if you barely miss a train and are stuck waiting for another for 5-45 minutes. The next problem is that 45 minutes is simply too long to wait in the oversized oven of a train station, even at 3 AM.
Second, the 126 bus. If you live in uptown Hoboken and don’t ride a bike in the city, this is probably going to be your preferred way to cross. It stops every two blocks, and I’ve never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a bus. If you live in west Hoboken, there’s the 126L along Willow and Clinton streets that will also bring you to PABT. At $3.50 per ride, it’s more expensive than the PATH, but still relatively cheap. The first downside to the bus is that it brings you to, and leaves from PABT. Sure, there are a lot of subways there, but finding your gate can be a bit of a maze, especially when you use a different entrance than you usually do. The second downside is that you can’t bring a bike over, and I generally like using my bike instead of the subway. It’s free and you have complete control over your own transportation. The final downside is that you’re not immune from traffic jams, particularly at the Lincoln Tunnel approach.
Finally, the ferry. This is probably the most easily accessible way to cross if you live in Shipyard or CPH. It’s a pretty quick ride over, and there are no delays of any kind usually. Bikes are allowed 24/7. There are three main downsides to the ferry. First, it brings you to 39th Street near the West Side Highway, and there’s nothing there really. The new 7 train station at Hudson Yards makes it a better situation than it used to be, but it’s still worse than the PATH or bus if you need to use the subway. Second, it’s $9 each way, which is simply too much. The final downside is that it only runs roughly every 20 minutes, so you really don’t want to miss your boat, especially if the weather’s bad.
My final verdict is that it depends on where you’re coming from in Hoboken. Uptown residents should almost always go for the bus while downtown residents are probably better off using the PATH. On-campus residents could really use either. However, unless you live in Shipyard or somewhere else near the water and are willing to pay a lot extra, I’d avoid the ferry unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Time for the bonus! If you want a relaxing, pretty Hudson crossing, go to Poughkeepsie. There’s a pedestrian-only Hudson River crossing up there. Another tip for crossing the Hudson upstate is that if it’s not too far out of the way, the Newburgh-Beacon bridge on I-84 has a lower toll than the crossings through the city, and there usually isn’t as much traffic.