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2006 AirTrain use sets record on rides

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the AirTrain had helped provide increasing traffic at JFK, which is expected to have reached 42 million in 2006, up from 31.7 million in 2003, 37.5 million in 2004 and 40.8 million in 2005. "AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark continues to gain riders every year as the ground transportation of choice for millions of people," said Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia. "Thirteen percent of JFK's passengers now use AirTrain service to access passenger terminals," Coscia said. The JFK AirTrain recorded ridership of 3,937,041 in 2006, a 15.4 increase over the 3,411,762 in 2005. The AirTrain has now carried more than 10 million customers in total since it opened in 2003. The AirTrain at Newark airport recorded an eight percent increase over the past year with 33 million passengers in 2005 Its ridership for 2006 has been estimated at 35.5 million. The Newark airport AirTrain began service in 2001. Passengers use the AirTrain to connect with JFK from the AirTrain station in Jamaica and from the New York City Transit Howard Beach station of the A train. At the AirTrain station in Jamaica, riders transfer to the Long Island Rail Road for the trip to Penn Station. The Newark Airport AirTrain takes passengers to a special Newark airport rail station where they transfer to New Jersey Transit Railroad or Amtrak.The AirTrain cost $1.9 billion and began operations long after several other U.S. airports had light rail facilities connecting terminals and some from airports to city centers..Discussions about the need for such a rail system went for nearly 30 years with many proponents insisting that it must be a one-seat ride from Manhattan without a transfer and some contend it ultimately will be.Reach reporter Phil Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300. Ext. 136.

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