Home Service Advisories Buses to return at 5 p.m. but ‘no firm timeline’ for restoration of subway service

Buses to return at 5 p.m. but ‘no firm timeline’ for restoration of subway service

by Benjamin Kabak

Update (11:46 a.m.): New York City buses will resume limited service this afternoon at 5 p.m. as the city dries out after the Sandy storm surge. The MTA will waive fares on all buses today and tomorrow as the transportation network comes back online, but restoration of full subway service is still a few days away, according to city officials. “It’s going to take a lot of time and patience to get power and the subways back up and running,” Mayor Bloomberg said this morning. Currently, there is no firm timeline for the restoration of subway services, and the MTA again stressed as much.

According to Bloomberg — and as we already know — the subway tunnels under the East River have flooded, but the Mayor said Transit’s rolling stock has emerged unscathed. “It shows the wisdom of Joe Lhota of moving trains out of there and to higher ground,” the Mayor said. Still, the Mayor doesn’t expect full subway service back any time soon. He said he guesses that it could take “three or four days” for full service to return. “I’d be happy if that’s what it turns out to be,” he said.

Speaking a short time later, Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered his assessment of the system. “The damage to tracks and the tunnels under water is unlike anything the city has seen in decades, if ever,” he said. Praising the decision to halt transit service ahead of the storm as a “prudent one,” Cuomo said that this will be a “long-term reconstruction.”

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota took the mic next and offered up a sober assessment of the situation. While the rolling stock — Transit’s buses and subway cars — are OK, the tracks are not. “The MTA faced a disaster as devastating as it ever faced in its history,” he said. Currently, Clark St. Tunnel, Steinway Tunnel, Montague St. Tunnel, Cranberry Tunnel and Rutgers Tunnel are under water, and crews are pumping out the Joralemon St. Tunnel. Some downtown stations have water up to the ceiling, and the MTA will not have a firm timeline for service restoration until a full assessment of the system can be conducted.

It’s clear though that as service comes back, it will do so in a piecemeal way. “We should look at this in part and not in whole. If there are parts we can get up, we’ll get them up,” Lhota said. The MTA should have another update later today when a the assessment has been completed, and I’ll update as more information comes in.

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John-2 October 30, 2012 - 11:38 am

It will be interesting to see if the MTA is willing to go with a partial restoration — say IRT service above Chambers Street/Brooklyn Bridge going to/from the Bronx, and BMT/IND service to Brooklyn only via the Manny B and Willie B — while giving the East River tunnels extra time to dry out.

Eric October 30, 2012 - 11:56 am

They had better. Replacing all subway service with buses is simply not going to work.

tp October 30, 2012 - 12:06 pm

It’d make sense to do this. I know the blogosphere basically exclusively lives in Brownstone Brooklyn at this point but a lot of us have bus and subway commutes that don’t involve East River crossings.

Benjamin Kabak October 30, 2012 - 12:09 pm

Lhota already said that’s the plan. No details yet though but I’d imagine short-turning trains and getting people across the river will be key.

Larry Littlefield October 30, 2012 - 12:14 pm

Most will have to walk over a bridge. That’s the best solution.

Hopefully they’ll run full length G trains on short headways to get people to and from Downtown Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, they can’t run the subways south of 39th Street without power.

BenW October 30, 2012 - 12:23 pm

I don’t know how far past Church Avenue the Culver line is functional, but it seems like just running the F via the crosstown for a few days could be a good plan. (Off the top of my head, that plan would be that the A or C runs local to 2nd Avenue, F runs QB/Crosstown/Culver, and I hope that the M can actually run to cover the 6th Avenue local. It’s not a very thoroughly baked plan, as you can probably tell.)

pea-jay October 30, 2012 - 2:44 pm

Walked by the Dyckman/200 A station and saw MTA personnel doing clean out. I asked them if it flooded. One answered it had. Since the surface streets were dry, the water came through the connection to the 207 Yard. I can’t imagine A service being functional quickly without it serviceable.

mike d. October 30, 2012 - 7:27 pm

207 St (A) train station with the yard is flooded. No damage to the rolling stock fleet.

John-2 October 30, 2012 - 2:46 pm

There is a certain irony in the current situation, considering all the problems the MTA has dealt with over the past 30 years with the tracks over the two bridges, and the questions of why the BMT ran the subways over the bridges in the first place. As slow as the bridge routes can be at times, if all the East River crossings were underground, it probably would take an additional 48-96 hours to get Brooklyn service restored due to the riverside flooding from Sandy.

Justin Samuels October 31, 2012 - 2:01 am

And its a shame the Queensboro Bridge lost its train service. The Astoria and Flushing lines used to each merge and go over the Queensboro, and then down second avenue.

Phantom October 30, 2012 - 12:15 pm

The buses never should have been pulled entirely out of service, but having them back partially today is really good news

BenW October 30, 2012 - 12:24 pm

Because all NYCTA busses are secretly amphibs with chainsaws on the front?

Chris October 30, 2012 - 1:41 pm

And even if the buses could run safely from a technical perspective, we shouldn’t have been subsidizing/encouraging people to travel around town yesterday, certainly not last night. It would be contrary to the (proven correct, IMO) message of leaving evacuation zones while otherwise remaining at home.

Josh October 30, 2012 - 12:52 pm

The B51 bus route (which connected Downtown Brooklyn to lower Manhattan via the Manhattan Bridge but was eliminated in the 2010 cuts because it was redundant with subway lines) would be useful to have now with all those flooded tunnels. Otherwise, restored bus service doesn’t do much for those of us who need to cross the East River.

Nathanael October 30, 2012 - 4:28 pm

OK, so that’s *most*, but not all, of the subway tunnels under the East River. Lower Manhattan IRT service is going to be out for quite a while.

Next questions:
– 14th St tunnel?
– 53rd St tunnel?
– 60th St tunnel?
– 63rd St tunnel?
– approaches to the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges? (If these flooded, so much for reestablishing ‘bridge route’ trains early)
– Queens Boulevard Line? (If this flooded, most of the Manhattan-Queens tunnels won’t be much use until it’s repaired)
– the various Harlem River tunnels? (If the Lexington Ave. Line’s tunnels are OK, that would be a very good thing)
– Crosstown Line? (Remember, the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek areas flooded)
– PATH south of Hoboken (since Hoboken is flooded, obviously)?

We also know the Sea Beach line flooded. Also, apparently LIRR’s pair of tunnels into Penn are flooded. We don’t know about Amtrak’s pair of tunnels.

mike d. October 30, 2012 - 7:26 pm

The Manhattan Bridge with subway tunnel approaches are not flooding. That depends on the station like Canal St if its a canal. Grand St maybe ok unless those fish market above the street doesnt take a dump into the subway.
East River Tunnels:
( R )
(A)( C )


mike d. October 30, 2012 - 7:33 pm

Partial Bus Service Restored

Operating today


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


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


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


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

Staten Island

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

Some routes may be operating with minor detours due to street conditions, customers are advised to look for signage at bus stops.

Source: http://www.mta.info/status/1

Note: Most of the routes are running now, I have seen couple of buses running that is not on the list.

Accessible Transit – NYC Subway Hurricane Sandy Service « Just Urbanism November 2, 2012 - 1:35 am

[…] hard hit. Many of the underground river crossings were fully flooded, but luckily most of the rolling stock has been spared and all of the large capital projects (East Side Access, 7th Line extension, and the Second Avenue […]


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