A waterlogged, damaged escalator leading to the platform at South Ferry station on the subway's 1 line after Superstorm Sandy. Credit: MTA New York City Transit / David Henly
On the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, New Yorkers who struggled for seven months without access to the city's subway system, and those still without service now, will get to ride the subway for free for a day.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the free rides "a thank you" to those New Yorkers "for taking the hardships of the storm in stride and for their understanding in the months since."
From midnight Monday until midnight on Tuesday, the subway will be free for riders taking the A train from stops between Howard Beach and the Rockaway Peninsula, and riders taking the R from stops between Bay Ridge-95th Street and Court Street.
The Montague Tunnel that the R runs through to get from Brooklyn to Manhattan was badly damaged by the storm surge during Sandy. It is closed for repairs now, and will remain so until October 2014. The A line was closed for repairs during the seven months after Sandy.
According to Cuomo's office, 65,000 people ride the R train in Brooklyn daily, and 30,000 take the A from the Rockaways.
The subway transit advocacy group Straphangers Campaign was not impressed with the governor's offer.
"It think it is a sincere gesture," said Straphangers Campaign staff attorney Gene Russianoff. "But a better action would be for state leaders to pledge to fully fund the MTA's upcoming five-year rebuilding program."
Russianoff also pointed out that about 50 percent of all subway trips are taken on unlimited MetroCards. Those riders would not benefit from the free service.