Sandy Slams City’s Public Transit
By Joe Marvilli
|City buses were the only form of public transportation running in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Photo by Ira Cohen
The Metropolitan Transit Authority and Port Authority began their lengthy inspection and recovery process on Oct. 30, after Superstorm Sandy shut down all public transit and flooded multiple tunnels.
To prepare for the incoming flooding, the MTA shut down all subway and bus lines on the evening of Oct. 28. Once Sandy hit the City on Oct. 29, storm surges flooded multiple subway tunnels and bus depots. Seven East River subway tunnels flooded, as did two Long Island Railroad tubes between Queens and Manhattan. On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a partial restoration of the subway system along with limited rail service from both the LIRR and Metro-North.
As of press time, the Queens subway lines that will have limited service on Nov. 1 are the A, F, J, M and N trains. The E, G, Q, Z and 7 trains remain suspended. Off-peak fares will be in effect for the LIRR until full service is restored.
While the subways were still shut down on Tuesday, bus service resumed. The bus lines currently running in Queens are the Q4, Q6, Q7, Q10, Q12, Q22, Q23, Q25, Q33, Q35, Q46, Q50, Q58, Q59, Q60, Q65, Q66, Q69, Q101 and Q113. Buses operated at near normal strength on Wednesday, according to the MTA.
Of course, detours due to road conditions were plentiful as were the lines of people attempting to use the service since no other public transit options were available.
Access-A-Ride also resumed limited service on Oct. 31, accepting reservations for travel after noon on Nov. 1 as well.
All the City’s bridges and tunnels were shut down over the course of the storm. Most notable was the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, formerly known as the Triborough, which was closed after a 100 mph wind gust Monday night.
At noon on Oct. 30, the first signs of recuperation appeared when the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, the Whitestone Bridge, the Throgs Neck Bridge, the Henry Hudson Bridge and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge reopened. The East River Bridges, which include the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Ed Koch-Queensboro bridges, have also reopened.
For access between New York City and New Jersey, the Outerbridge Crossing, George Washington Bridge, Goethals Bridge, Bayonne Bridge and Lincoln Tunnel are open.
As of Oct. 31, only the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, the Cross Bay Bridge and the Holland Tunnel were still shut down. The tunnels all sustained heavy flooding.
The challenges still remain immense. The MTA must inspect 5,600 buses, 6,200 subway cars, 600 miles of tracks and 468 subway stations before they can be used again.
Chairman Joseph Lhota was confident the City’s public transit system would recover, saying, “Our employees have never faced a challenge like the one that confronts us now. All of us at the MTA are committed to restoring the system as quickly as we can to help bring New York back to normal.”
Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.