Some Transit Restored, But Service Suspension Leaves Many Stranded Commuters
Sunday, August 28, 2011
After Tropical Storm Irene forced the closure of the city's mass transit system, commuters braced for delays and frustration during the morning commute Monday as most subway and bus service was restored but rail lines remained suspended.
Kyle Taylor, 49, was at Penn Station Monday morning trying to make his way to East Orange, New Jersey, to help his tenants fix leaks in the building. He did not know NJ Transit service had been suspended.
"New York is all about making money, about people," Taylor fumed. "They should have had it up and running."
Crestfall college student Wei Peng, 20, was waiting in Penn Station to catch an Amtrak train. He flew in from Philadelphia yesterday.
"Today is the first day of class," said the Bard College junior. "I'm going to miss it."
Commuter George Connerat used the PATH as an alternative to get into Manhattan from New Jersey Monday morning was. He normally takes the Morris and Essex lines into Penn Station, and said there were far fewer people on the train than during past N-J Transit disruptions.
"Whenever they have Penn Station problems and we're diverted to Hoboken on New Jersey Transit, I mean, you can't even move," he said. "This is almost, this is like a present. This is a rare occurrence."
Here are the latest developments:
• Most subway lines were restored at 6 a.m. The C train will not be running, and the A train is running local. There will be no Franklin Avenue Shuttle. The Staten Island Railway.
• Some Metro North service will resume at 2 p.m. Monday. Trains will operate on a Sunday schedule on the Lower Hudson and Lower Harlem lines only. There has been serious flooding on all three Metro North lines, possibly the worst damage in the MTA’s entire transit system.
• Bus service was restored to a limited number of lines in all five boroughs. No fare is being charged for bus service Sunday and there is no express service. The MTA is bringing lines back one by one.
• PATH service will be fully restored at 4 a.m. Monday morning. NJ Transit will operate on a modified schedule on Monday. While bus service is largely restored, rail service will be extremely limited. There will be no service on the North Jersey Coast Line, the Gladstone Branch and the Meadowlands Sports Complex.
• The Long Island Rail Road will operate "near-normal" service on six branches on Monday: Babylon, Huntington, Ronkonkoma, Port Washington, Hempstead and West Hempstead Branches. Service remains suspended on the Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, Long Beach and Far Rockaway Branches and as east of Babylon and east of Ronkonkoma.
• NJ Transit rail service will remain suspended until further notice as a result of residual impacts of Hurricane Irene, except for the Atlantic City Rail Line
• Amtrak cancelled all trains between Boston and Philadelphia Monday, including the Acela service. Amtrak said extensive flooding, debris on tracks and power issues following Irene hampered its ability to operate in the Northeast.
• All bridges and tunnels are open, including those to the Rockaways. The Tappan Zee Bridge was closed due to flooding on the NY Thruway.
On Sunday, some New Yorkers had a plan for the situation, either taking a cab or cycling. But others had no real alternatives.
“Then I guess I won’t be going to work,” said David Gregory, 27. “It will be a nice holiday.’
Gregory, who lives in West Harlem, works as a receptionist at Citibank in the Financial District and was supposed to work Sunday. He said he thought the subway would be up and running on Monday and had not come up with an alternative plan with his manager.
Ebony Johnson, 27, who lives a few blocks further uptown, on 155th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, said she was worried about how she would get her kids, ages 11 and 5, to school.
“They have contacted me to say the school will be open,” said Johnson, referring to a message she received from the Harlem Success Academy, located on 118th Street. “But they didn’t say anything about organizing transport.”
The options, Johnson said, were scarce: walk or take the cab. She said she wasn’t sure her children could walk that distance, or if she could afford the cab fare.
Johnson, like other New Yorkers who were interviewed, said they appreciated how cautious the city was in preparation for the hurricane, but felt the shutdown of mass transit had been premature.
Hearing on Friday what would happen, Susan Dorren, who owns an advertising agency in Soho, said she planned ahead and brought her bike to her home in Harlem.
“I knew this was going to happen,” Dorren said. “So I’m not gonna be affected tomorrow.”
With reporting from Brian Zumhagen