(UPDATE) MTA to waive all train and bus fares Thursday and Friday

"It is tight, it is packed," said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota of overcrowded city buses on Wednesday. Buses were the only means of public transportation available after Hurricane Sandy.

UPDATE:

Governor Cuomo announced on Wednesday night that he has authorized the MTA to waive all train and bus fares for the remainder of the week.

14 of the city’s 23 subways will be running on Thursday in segments, largely leaving out lower Manhattan, where there is still no power. MTA Chairman Joe Lhota expects that limited subway service will increase on Friday.

Lhota reported that they have cleared 3 of the 7 subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn, but those tunnels are still in the inspection and cleanup stage, and the MTA is not ready to test trains in the tunnels.

Cars must have three or more passengers when entering Manhattan via any of the East River bridges, the RFK Bridge, the Henry Hudson Bridge, or the Lincoln Tunnels. Cars violating this High Occupancy Vehicle regulation will be stopped by the NYPD and denied access to the bridge or tunnel.


UPDATE:

Shuttle buses between Brooklyn and Manhattan will start running at 6am, at the same time that limited subway service will commence on select lines (listed below). The MTA has provided a map of the select post-Sandy subway service online.

New Yorkers traveling between Brooklyn and Manhattan will also have the option of taking the East River Ferry, starting at 7am on Thursday from the Fulton Ferry Landing and North Williamsburg, to East 34th Street and Pier 11. The Long Island City stop is also active again, but there will be no stops in South Williamsburg or Greenpoint, as the water damage at those ports still needs to be assessed.

Ferry tickets will be sold on board, cash only. The last ferries will leave Pier 11 and E. 34th Street at 6pm, bound for Long Island City and Brooklyn.

The MTA will start charging bus fares at 6am on Thursday, according to Senator Marty Golden.

The NYPD will be enforcing a 3 person per car minimum for all cars on the Henry Hudson Bridge and RFK Bridge into Manhattan, starting at 6am as well.

Governor Cuomo announced that Metro-North riders can expect “near regular” service on the Harlem Line between Mt. Kisco and Grand Central, and the New Haven Line between Stanford and Grand Central.

LaGuardia Airport is slated to open at 7am on Thursday, per Governor Cuomo’s orders.

UPDATE:

Mayor Bloomberg has instated a three person minimum for cars on all East River bridges between 6am and midnight. Any vehicle carrying less than three people will be pulled over by the police and denied access onto the bridge.

From 4pm to midnight, taxis will be exempt from the HOV restriction.

Many trains are slated to be in service in time for Thursday morning rush hour, but the mayor expressed doubts that service will resume downtown and through the Brooklyn-bound subway tunnels before the weekend at the earliest.

As of 3pm on Wednesday, Grand Central Station is reopened.

A revised list of the subway service expected:

A trains running local in two sections: between 168th St & 34th St/Penn Station in
Manhattan, and between Jay Street & Lefferts Blvd in Brooklyn.

D trains will run local between 205th Street in the Bronx and 34th Street/Herald Square in Manhattan, and in Brooklyn between Atlantic Avenue/Barclays Center and Bay Parkway. The D will run express in Brooklyn between Pacific Street and 36th Street.

F trains running local in 2 sections: between 179th St in Queens
& 34th Street in Manhattan, and in Brooklyn between Jay Street &
Avenue X.

J trains running local between Jamaica Center and Hewes Street.

L trains will make all local stops between Broadway Junction and Rockaway Parkway.

M trains will be running between Myrtle Ave-Broadway & Metropolitan Ave.

N trains will be running local between Ditmars Blvd in Queens & 34th Street in Manhattan.

R trains will run local in Brooklyn between Jay Street & 95th Street.

1 trains are running local between 242nd Street in the Bronx and Times Square-42nd Street in Manhattan

2 trains are running from 241st Street in the Bronx to Times Square-42nd
Street in Manhattan, with express service between 96th Street and Times
Square

4 trains are running local in two sections: between Woodlawn in the
Bronx & Grand Central/42nd St in Manhattan, and in Brooklyn between Borough Hall
& New Lots Ave

5 trains running express in Brooklyn between Atlantic Ave/Barclays Center & Flatbush Ave

6 trains are running local between Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx & Grand Central/42nd St in Manhattan.

42nd Street Shuttle S trains will operate between Times Square & Grand Central, but 7 trains remain suspended.

Service for the 3, 7, B, C, E, G, and Q lines is still suspended. Both the Franklin Avenue and Rockaway Parkway shuttles are suspended as well.

UPDATE:

Three shuttle buses will be available between Manhattan and Brooklyn, to supplement the limited train service on Thursday.

The routes, all via the Manhattan Bridge, are between:

Barclays Center/Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and  57th St/Lexington Ave in Manhattan
Jay Street/MetroTech and 57th St/Lexington Ave
Hewes Street (@ Broadway) and 57th St/Lexington Ave

UPDATE:

The MTA has corrected Governor Cuomo’s statement: limited train service will resume on Thursday at 6am, not 2pm as previously stated.

UPDATE:

Correction: Governor Cuomo has clarified that the subway will not resume service today, but will resume service tomorrow, Thursday, at 2pm.

Governor Cuomo has announced via Twitter that some subway lines will resume limited service at 2pm Wednesday.

Those lines are:

A trains running local: between 168th St Manhattan & 34th St in Manhattan and between Jay Street & Lefferts Blvd in Brooklyn.

F trains are running local in 2 sections: between 179th St in QUeens & 34th Street in Manhattan, and in Brooklyn between Jay Street & Avenue X

J trains running local from Jamaica Center to Hewes Street

M trains between Myrtle Ave-Broadway & Metropolitan Ave

N trains are running local between Ditmars Blvd in Queens & 34th Street in Manhattan

R trains are running local in Brooklyn between Jay Street & 95th Street

1 trains are running local between 242nd Street in the Bronx and Times Square-42nd Street in Manhattan

2 trains are running from 241st Street in the Bronx to Times Square-42nd
Street in Manhattan, with express service between 96th Street and Times
Square

4 trains making all local stops in two sections: between Woodlawn in the
Bronx & 42nd St in Manhattan, and in Brooklyn between Borough Hall
& New Lots Ave

5 trains running express in Brooklyn between Atlantic Ave/Barclays Center & Flatbush Ave

42nd Street Shuttle S trains will operate between Times Square & Grand Central, but 7 trains remain suspended

7, B, C, E, G, Q train service is still suspended.

UPDATE:
MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota reported that three of the seven subway tunnels have been cleared of water.

Those tunnels are for the 4/5, 2/3 and F lines, according to NY1. The tunnels still need to be cleared of sludge and have equipment tested, which could happen as early as Wednesday night.

However, the MTA told Metro that regardless of those tunnels being cleared, the trains “absolutely [can]not” run until electricity is restored in lower Manhattan.

UPDATE:

Governor Cuomo announced midday on Wednesday that the MTA plans to resume limited subway service in Manhattan on Thursday. The subway will not run below 42nd Street, as there is still no power downtown.

Con Edison does not yet have a timetable on when that power might be restored.

There will be a “bus bridge” to Brooklyn starting on Thursday as well, to supplement the subway service.

Buses are officially running at full service as of Wednesday.

Cuomo says traffic congestion is the result of “some passings [that] are still closed,” including the Midtown Tunnel, and confusion stemming from traffic lights that are still out at certain intersections.

Metro-North and the LIRR will resume limited service starting at 2pm on Wednesday.

Cuomo emphasized that even though it appears water has receded, tunnels are still flooded and the damage sustained from water exposure, particularly to Con Ed’s equipment, will take time to repair.

MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota is slated to give information on which subway lines will be restored.

UPDATE:

The MTA will begin testing certain subway lines on Wednesday night, without passengers, according to reports from NY1.

Governor Cuomo is slated to give more information on the subways and other post-Sandy repairs in early Wednesday afternoon. MTA Chairman Joe Lhota may also speak.

UPDATE:

Maps of bus routes and scheduling information are now available online at bustime.mta.info.

Many riders have expressed shock at the absence of a bus between Manhattan and Brooklyn, with some noting that Brooklyn is the 4th largest city in the nation if counted alone. Gridlock traffic extending miles off of bridges and jamming major avenues have also led some to question the lack of vehicle occupancy regulations that could have resulted in more car-sharing and fewer cars on the road, particularly since the only mass transit available is now street-level. HOV restrictions were put in place after the 2005 Transit Strike and 9/11.

Mayor Bloomberg has encouraged ride-sharing in taxis, and said that while no set fares had been instituted for additional passengers, he suggested $10 per person. He cautioned riders to be sure to set the fare at the start of the ride. He has also authorized livery cabs (black cars) to pick up passengers off the street, and urged those passengers as well to set their fare prior to departing.

According to a report from MTA Spokesman Kevin Ortiz, at 7pm Tuesday night, pump trains were at work in some of the flooded East River subway tunnels. That water removal was said to be taking place in the Clark Street (2/3 line), Steinway (7 line) and Rutgers (F line) tunnels. No timetable for subway reopening has been announced as of yet.

As of Tuesday night, the FDR Drive was first open northbound from E 23rd Street to E 96th Street, and later from the Battery up to Dyckman Street. Southbound, the FDR is now accessible from E 125th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge.

UPDATE:

The MTA has dispatched buses to the most high-volume bus routes starting at 5pm on Tuesday. They hope to have buses running at full schedule on Wednesday. All buses will be free until further notice.

The following bus lines are currently running:

Manhattan

M2, M5, M8, M11, M14, M15, SBS15, M34, M34A, M22, M57, M60, M86, M96, M101

Bronx

Bx1, Bx6, Bx7, Bx8, Bx10, Bx12, SBS12, Bx16, Bx23, Bx27, Bx36, Bx38, Bx40, Bx41, Bx55, Q50

Brooklyn

B1, B3, B15, B35, B41, B44, B46, B61, B82, Q58, Q59

Queens

Q4, Q6, Q7, Q10, Q12, Q22, Q23, Q25, Q33, Q35, Q46, Q50, Q60, Q65, Q66, Q69, Q101, Q113

Staten Island

S40, S46, S48, S53, S59, S61, S62, S74, S78, SBS79

Governor Cuomo also announced that the Marine Parkway Bridge, connecting storm-ravaged Breezy Point, Queens to Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn, has reopened.


UPDATE:

The MTA has announced that buses will begin running again Tuesday at 5pm, on a Sunday schedule at no charge to passengers. They anticipate the bus system returning to full service on Wednesday, but buses will continue to run at no cost to riders.

They outlined the extent of last night’s damage in a statement on their website.

“In the period of a few hours, seven East River subway tubes, two Long Island Rail Road tubes linking Manhattan with Queens and two vehicular tunnels were inundated by a wall of water, along with one subway bridge, three subway yards and six bus depots,” the announcement described.

Five of the city’s seven bridges did indeed re-open at noon after a full inspection. Those bridges are the Robert F. Kennedy, Verrazano-Narrows, Bronx-Whitestone, Throgs Neck and Henry Hudson bridges. The two bridges in the Rockaways, the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Bridge, have still not re-opened.

The Brooklyn Battery and Queens Midtown Tunnels, which both suffered extensive flooding, remain closed as well.

MTA Chairman Lhota has reiterated the unprecedented nature of this disaster and the consequent level of damage, and insisted that safety is the agency’s first priority.

“The challenge that we face now is one of assessment, inspection, repair, and restoration,” Lhota affirmed. “This will not be a short process, but it will be one that puts safety as its major focus.”

Metro’s original story is below.

Following a press briefing from Mayor Bloomberg Tuesday morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo and MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota provided an updated on the airports, bridges and tunnels around the five boroughs, as well as the apparently brutally damaged subway system.

Governor Cuomo described the water gushing into the Battery Tunnel as resembling a “rushing river” and reported that water had streamed in from both the East and Hudson Rivers.

That tunnel remains closed, as does the Holland Tunnel and the Rockaway Bridge. Other bridges were slated to open at noon on Tuesday.

JFK Airport will be reopened tomorrow, hopefully, though extensive damage will keep LaGuardia Airport, which is below sea level, closed for an unknown time.

Cuomo reported that Wall Street should be back online on Wednesday.

Cuomo criticized the subway system, saying it needs to be updated, and that this is a time to seize the opportunity to rebuild better than before.

“We did not anticipate water coming over the Hudson River… and filling subway grates and filling every opening and filling that massive infrastructure we have below ground,” Cuomo lamented.

Cuomo stated that limited bus service would resume at 5 p.m., though the update given by MTA’s Twitter account shortly after Cuomo’s statement said, “The MTA will restore limited bus service today at 5pm, with more service coming tomorrow. Fares will be waived for the time being.”

MTA Chairman Joseph L. Lhota, speaking after Governor Cuomo, confirmed that the transit system will be restored in pieces, and that buses will be used to supplement the limited train service.

Lhota said the storm “wrecked havoc” on the subway system. Lhota reported that nearly the entire subway system has lost power.

He said the MTA does not yet have a complete assessment, and that many areas are disabled by high water. One example he gave was the downtown South Street station.

“The water is literally up to the ceiling,” Lhota described. “It’s not beyond the track level, it’s literally up to the ceiling.”

Lhota did have some good news to report: none of the buses or the subways cars have seen any damage.

“It’s all on the lines,” he assured. “It’s all on the track levels that we have to worry about.”


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