NYC Transportation In Sandy's Wake: New Yorkers Anticipate Free Buses, Closed Subway

10/30/2012 04:06 pm ET | Updated Oct 30, 2012

On Monday, as hurricane turned superstorm Sandy ripped through the five boroughs, New York City came to a screeching halt.

Public transportation was shut down, bridges were closed, businesses were shuttered and millions of residents were told to evacuate from low-lying regions or to stay safe holed up in their homes.

Hours later, as the city begins to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the superstorm, accessing the damage and figuring out next steps, bewildered residents stranded at home are beginning to ask: What now?

Though it will likely take days or even weeks for the city to fully grasp the magnitude of this disaster, roads are now starting to be cleared, debris cleaned up, and public and other modes of transportation are slowly kicking back into gear.

Over the next few days, stay updated by checking our live blog (below) and referring frequently to the governor's, mayor's and MTA's websites.

As of Tuesday afternoon, here's the most updated information we have regarding transportation:

BRIDGES & ROADS

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Tuesday that five of the MTA’s seven bridges -- the Robert F. Kennedy, Verrazano-Narrows, Bronx-Whitestone, Throgs Neck and Henry Hudson bridges -- were "fully inspected and reopened at noon."

However, the two Rockaway bridges, Cross Bay Veterans Memorial and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges bridges, and the Hugh L. Carey and Queens Midtown Tunnel remain closed.

At a press conference Tuesday morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that roads should be mostly cleared of water by Wednesday.

MTA

"Our transportation system has never faced a disaster as devastating Hurricane Sandy, which has caused an unparalleled level of damage,” said MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota in the storm's aftermath. “The challenge that we face now is one of assessment, inspection, repair, and restoration. This will not be a short process, but it will be one that puts safety as its major focus.”

According to the MTA website, "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." Still, the website notes that there are "some early signs of recovery."

Buses: Governor Cuomo announced that service will be partially restored at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, when buses will begin running on a "Sunday schedule."

A full schedule is expected for Wednesday. No fares will be charged on both days.

Subway: On Tuesday morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that due to flooding and other damage, the subway system remains closed Tuesday. He added that there is "no timeline for reactivation" at the moment and that it may take 4 to 5 days for service to resume.

According to MTA website, "damage has been extremely heavy in downtown Manhattan where several subway lines converge."  The South Ferry station, for example, is said to be "filled track to ceiling with water as are several of the subway tunnels."

In a statement Tuesday, Lhota declared Hurricane Sandy the worst disaster in the subway's 108-year history.

Mortimer Downey, a former MTA executive director and current board member of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, told Bloomberg that full recovery of the subway system may take days and "possibly weeks."

"Service won’t be able to resume until inspections take place and any parts damaged by being inundated with salt water are replaced," according to Downey.

AIRPORTS

Gothamist reports that JFK may reopen Wednesday. But Governor Cuomo was reportedly "dubious about LaGuardia's chances due to serious damage."

Sandy has already caused the cancellation of some 16,127 flights in North America through Wednesday, according to FlightStats.com. For more on the storm's impact on travelers, click here.

TAXIS

Bloomberg said that some taxis will be on the road Tuesday and that a 'shared taxi' system will be allowed. In other words, cab drivers will be able to pick up new passengers even if they already have a customer in the vehicle.

11/04/2012 12:26 AM EDT

PHOTO: A Marathon Wedding Proposal, Minus The Marathon

HuffPost's Katie Bindley reports:

Like all the competitors who trained for the 2012 NYC Marathon, Hannah Vahaba will not be running the race this year. But she also will never forget her moment at the finish line. After traveling in from Atlanta, Vahaba picked up a marriage proposal in Central Park on Saturday without having to traverse the 26.2-mile course.

"This is my fiance," said Vahaba, 31, who had tears running down her face as she stood in Central Park where the race would have ended, just moments after Martin O'Donoghue had proposed.

marriage proposal cancelled nyc marathon

Photo by Damon Scheleur

Read the full story here.

11/04/2012 12:25 AM EDT

Check Donation Lists

Be sure to check donation lists to see what items are needed. For example, at one Staten Island donation center, there is a critical need for batteries batteries batteries, candles, matches, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, pet food, baby supplies, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner. Clothing isn't needed as much at that center.

-Catharine Smith, HuffPost

11/03/2012 10:42 PM EDT

Brooklyn Regions Still Lack Electricity, Heat and Water Days After Storm

HuffPost's Tim Stenovec reports:

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which killed at least 48 people in New York when it battered the Northeast last week, frustrated residents in this corner of South Brooklyn are coping without electricity, heat and running water.

Read the full story here.

11/03/2012 10:18 PM EDT

On Long Island, Cuomo demands Accountability from Utilities

Huntington Patch reports:

At a massive food distribution event at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, Cuomo said power has been restored to 60 percent of the New York metropolitan area.

LIPA reported Saturday evening that 460,000 customers remained without power, down from more than 900,000 initially.

"I've warned the utility companies repeatedly they operate under a state charter, essentially," Cuomo said. "The utility companies are not happy with my warning and frankly, I don't care."

"The customers are not happy. The bill payers are not happy and the people without power are not happy," Cuomo said. "People are suffering. It is an issue of safety and if the utilities were not prepared we will hold them accountable."

Read the full story on Huntington Patch.

11/03/2012 9:38 PM EDT

Gasoline Shortage Likely To Last For Several More Days

Even as power returns to parts of the region assailed by Hurricane Sandy, millions of drivers seeking gasoline appear likely to face at least several more days of persistent shortages.

Read the full story here.

11/03/2012 8:50 PM EDT

Behind @ConEdison: The 27 Year-Old Preventing Panic, One Tweet At A Time

HuffPost's Bianca Bosker:

On Saturday, 27-year-old Kate Frasca was manning Con Edison’s Twitter account, @ConEdison, responding to customers’ frustrations, questions, praise and criticism at an average clip of one tweet every six minutes.

Read the full story here.

11/03/2012 8:35 PM EDT

Estimate Says 600 Million Gallons Of Water Hit Mass Transit System

@ USACE_HQ :

Roughly 600 M gallons of storm water infiltrated the nation’s busiest and oldest underground mass transit system... http://t.co/5jMXDhRc

11/03/2012 8:15 PM EDT

$12 Million Donated So Far To NYC Mayor's Fund For Recovery

@ MikeBloomberg :

If you would like to donate: visit http://t.co/9w8egqxD So far $12 million has been contributed. 100% of funds go to #Recovery efforts.

11/03/2012 7:52 PM EDT

Don't Touch Downed Power Lines

@ usNWSgov :

Post #Sandy reminders: never touch a downed power line or anything touching one. Washing your hands prevents illness. #NWS #CDC

11/03/2012 7:17 PM EDT

Volunteers Arrive In Staten Island

@ NYCMayorsOffice :

Volunteers Descend on Staten Island Neighborhood http://t.co/9aP3ggJN

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