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Officials Float Idea Of Using Ferries During Penn Station Repairs

HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- NJ TRANSIT riders want to end their commute nightmare in and out of Penn Station, but some aren't thrilled with transit plans during track work.

Governor Chris Christie said PATH is an option, but some commuters want more ferries to get into the city.

Some 29,000 commuters take the PATH from Hoboken each weekday -- in April, it turned into a cattle crawl when NJ TRANSIT lines were rerouted from Penn Station.

Ellen Scheurer said her ride will be hell if 23,000 more people join her on the PATH from NJ TRANSIT's Morris and Essex lines.

"Every day there is some sort of a delay, and cross honoring tickets, more and more people. I end up taking the ferry. More expensive," she told CBS2's Meg Baker.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer agrees.

"The PATH really is at capacity. It's a challenge for commuters. On the ferry, a lot of opportunity, and really encourage commuters to take advantage of the ferry," she said.

Track work is expected to start on July 7 and last eight weeks.

Mayors from South Orange and Maplewood wrote Governor Christie a letter on behalf of riders from their area.

"Will have their personal and professional lives disrupted dramatically, and the proposed fare discounts will not make up for the missed time with their families," they wrote.

"It's going to be a terrible situation, but work has to be done," State Senator Robert Gordon acknowledged.

Gordon is pushing for more use of the ferry system and New York Waterway said it's ready.

"We can carry up to 90,000 a day and Port Authority, NJ TRANSIT said we are the answer to mass transit problems here, so always ready to help out any way we can," Jennifer Schuck said.

During the last major transit breakdown, New York Waterway added a special ferry from downtown Hoboken to West 39th Street in Manhattan.

NJ TRANSIT said plans are not finalized yet, but in the past ferries played a major role in cross honoring.

New York Waterway announced the addition of a ferry from downtown to midtown starting in September.

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