We are visitors who stayed in Jersey City and spent the weekend in NYC. I wanted to offer our specific feedback regarding PATH's SmartLink cards, as out-of-towners who visit NYC once in a great while.
- SmartLink cards are much more expensive than the MetroCard cards used for NYC transit.
- MetroCard works on PATH trains.
- SmartLink does NOT work on NYC transit (MTA buses, NYC subway).
- PATH has a very limited number of stops in NYC.
As a visitor, you will likely use PATH twice a day, likely to land either at the WTC or at 33rd & Broadway, then, likely, you will walk hours because Manhattan is an awesomely walkable place, and, likely, you will wish you could take a bus back to that PATH station that is hours away.
SmartLink is good for commuters, visitors should use MetroCard.