Although the city's subways are almost entirely back up and running and most New Yorkers have returned to their regular daily commutes, thousands of people who rely heavily on the L and G trains are still stranded without service in the wake of hurricane Sandy.
Frustration among riders who live along those subway lines has prompted an online petition backed by Brooklyn Councilwoman Latitia James. More than 3,000 people have already joined the Change.org campaign calling on the MTA to provide shuttle service as a substitute for the G train, which runs from Long Island City in Queens to Sunset Park in Brooklyn, and the L train, which runs the length of 14th Street in Manhattan to Rockaway in Brooklyn. The petition states:
In the wake of an unprecedented natural disaster, we are greatly appreciative of the MTA's remarkable restoration of 84% of subway service. Yet we are extremely concerned about the lack of mass transit access for residents along the L and G subway lines. These trains are not redundant - but essential lifelines for hundreds of thousands of Brooklynites.
"I know this has been a devastating storm and I know the G and L lines are corroded," James told Metro. "However, you could provide bus service along the lines to meet the needs of those constituents."
James said she has reached out to MTA chair Joe Lhota with the request, but has yet to hear back from him.
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz hinted to Metro that shuttle service along the G and L lines isn't likely.
"We ask customers to exercise patience as we continue to work 24 hours a day to restore both lines as quickly as possible," Ortiz said. "Setting up a shuttle bus is a very difficult undertaking, and even when it runs, carries only a fraction of a subway riders, so it sets up expectations that are hard to meet."
"I think MTA workers do not have any boots on the ground, and if you have sense of the explosion in ridership on the G and L lines, you would know there is an increased demand for bus service," James fired back.
She acknowledged that some buses along the route, like the B62, are running more often, but said it's not enough. Several petition supporters echoed the need for more options.
"B62 has been a joke all week, and the MTA has been oblivious," Michael Piaker of Brooklyn said.
The MTA has yet to announce when the L and G trains might be back in service, but it released new photos of workers desperately trying to pump seawater from the L train's tunnel beneath the East River.
(Flickr via MTAPhotos)