In addition to disappointment over lack of hurricane adventures and standard-issue Sunday-night blues, New Yorkers are still facing what seems guaranteed to be a slow, confusing Monday morning commute. The MTA resumed subway service at 6 a.m. "with limited exceptions." However, their emergency home page warns, "Service will be less frequent than normal, and customers should expect longer waits and more crowded trains." The situation should improve over the course of the day, but that's probably not much comfort to anyone who's expected to be at work by the start of business hours.
The normally express 7 was running local earlier, but it's now reportedly at full speed. The morning also began without the C train, with the A running local, but now both are back in action. (There remains no service in the Rockaways.) City buses, meanwhile, are operating at close to full strength. The LIRR restored service in time for morning rush hour on five of its branches (Huntington, Ronkonkoma, Port Washington, Hempstead, and West Hempstead) while six others (Babylon, Long Beach, Oyster Bnay, Port Jefferson, Far Rockaway, and Montauk) remained suspended. The PATH started up at 4 a.m.; the Metro-North remains totally nonoperational. All MTA bridges and tunnels are now open.
"If you don't have to go to work tomorrow, don't go to work tomorrow," New Jersey governor Chris Christie said at a briefing Sunday night. "Tomorrow is going to be a very difficult day to travel around the state of New Jersey," he admitted, explaining that flooding and damage would close all NJ Transit train service on Monday, with the exception of the Atlantic City Rail Line.
Meanwhile in New York, it's all about second guessing. While felled trees and flooded tracks make the regional rail closures understandable, many are questioning Governor Cuomo's decision to completely close the public transit system of a city where most people are without cars and many are reluctant to drop money on taxis after spending a small fortune on unused D batteries and canned tuna. As personal training company owner Joe Barron pointed out:
"The mayor said we should find alternate commuting routes. People don't own private cars in the city ... They could have taken a staged approach or kept a skeleton system."
Casilda Johnson, a security guard who the Times found walking across the Brooklyn Bridge after a 26-hour shift at the Manhattan Municipal Building, was similarly irritated:
"[Bloomberg] went overboard this time. You can't shut this big city down. You've got to think of the people who don't have cars. How are we supposed to get to work, and get home?"
Switching the subways back on, it turns out, is not easy. Transit workers had to manually inspect tracks and pump out water, the New York Times reports. Moreover: "Waterlogged tracks are sometimes restored with hair dryers." (Check out the MTA's Flickr page for some photographic evidence of their cleanup.)
Mayor Bloomberg, for his part, seems to think everyone should stop whining, if only because the subways are basically always making people's lives miserable in some way: "Tough commute tomorrow, but you know, we have tough commutes all the time." At least we know he'll be putting his MetroCard where his mouth is and braving the 6 train with his fellow East Siders — unless he decides that it's really the day to go ahead and take the Suburbans all the way to the office, just this once.