Posted by: thundaworld | November 1, 2012

Subways, Tunnels Resume Partial Operation Following Hurricane Sandy Closures (Article)

Several New York City subway lines will resume partial operations Thursday morning (TODAY) at 6 a.m. EDT and vehicle access to Manhattan will largely be restricted to cars carrying three or more people, city officials announced Wednesday, as authorities attempt to assuage the epic street gridlock and limited public transportation that have nearly paralyzed the city in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York City transportation officials made the list of hurricane-related transit reforms clear Wednesday evening: Forced carpooling will complement limited subway service and buses running across the city. Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairman Joseph Lhota said fees will be waived on buses and subways through the end of the week.

“I know it is inconvenient for a lot of people but bottom line is the city can only handle so much,” Bloomberg said. “I suggest picking up people who will be standing by the bridges. You are their solution and you theirs.”

But with many of the roughly 8.7 million people who typically move around the city daily with the help of the MTA virtually at a standstill more than three days after the city initiated closures, questions remain about when operations might return to normal, what might have been done to prevent the subway system from flooding and what New York can do to prevent a repeat transit disaster in the future.

Bus service resumed Tuesday afternoon with one notable adjustment from the MTA’s usual mode of operation: rides came free of charge. On Wednesday, MTA authorities said that New York’s buses — which typically move about 2.3 million people around the city, according to the Associated Press — instead served about 5 million. Bus rides remained fare-free Wednesday. Ferry service between New Jersey and New York also resumed and limited Long Island Railroad and Metro North commuter rail operations reopened. The subway shutdown has a high price tag for the MTA: $18 million each day, transit officials said.

Transit options in the New York area will be evolving and expanding almost daily, MTA Chairman Lhota said during a midday press conference on Wednesday.

“Our whole goal every day will be to get the system back to normal, back to the service we were used to last week, if not even better,” Lhota said.

Yet even before the storm, climate experts warned that New York city’s transit system is vulnerable to serious weather damage and that the area’s residents could face life-altering inconveniences given a combination of storms super-charged by climate change. Limited public investment in protective infrastructure and emergency management has exacerbated this vulnerability, they warned.



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