As the city struggles to recover after Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers trying to commute to work Thursday morning were met with long lines, crowded trains and cabs without gas.

SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS AND TWITTER REACTIONS.

New York City subways returned early Thursday with limited service above 34th Street, and buses were available to transport commuters between Brooklyn to Manhattan. But the commute, which spanned hours for some, was far from ideal.

In Brooklyn, thousands waited in sprawling lines that zig-zagged outside the Barclay's Center for packed shuttle buses to transport commuters to Midtown Manhattan.

In Manhattan, commuters squeezed into jam-packed subway cars on 14 of the city's operational subway lines, but were unhindered by the heavy traffic and gridlock above ground.

Other commuters from the outer boroughs walked or biked across open bridges to reach Manhattan, while those driving into the city were turned away at police checkpoints unless they had at least three passengers in their vehicles.

Despite the hour-long waits for buses and cramped rides through heavy traffic, Governor Andrew Cuomo waived all subway and bus fares on Thursday and Friday to encourage commuters to use mass transit. The free transportation also extends to the partial service on Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road, which returned Wednesday at 2 p.m.

See photos from Thursday morning and Twitter reactions to chaotic commute in the galleries below.

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  • Commuters wait in a line to board buses into Manhattan in front of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. The line stretched twice around the arena and commuters reported wait times of one to three hours to get on a bus. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

  • Traffic is gridlocked on the Long Island Expressway into Manhattan near the turn off for the Queensboro Bridge, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

  • Commuters wait for busses near the Long Island Rail Road Jamaica Station Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in the New York City borough of Queens. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • Bicyclists and pedestrians cross the Brooklyn Bridge, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

  • Commuters board a New York Waterway ferry bound for Midtown Manhattan at the 14th Street pier Thursday Nov. 1, 2012 in Hoboken, N.J. (AP Photo/Joe Epstein)

  • Commuters ride the F train November 1, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • Commuters navigate the Long Island Rail Road Jamaica Station Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in the New York City borough of Queens. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

  • A driver gets out of his cab while sitting in gridlocked traffic on the Long Island Expressway near the turn off for the Queensboro Bridge, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

  • Commuters talk on their phones while waiting in a line to board buses into Manhattan in front of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. The line stretched twice around the arena and commuters reported wait times of one to three hours to get on a bus. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

  • Commuters wait in a line to board buses into Manhattan in front of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. The line stretched twice around the arena and commuters reported wait times of one to three hours to get on a bus. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

  • Commuters wait for buses along Queens Plaza South during the morning rush, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in the Queens borough of New York. New York Gov. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

  • Commuters ride the F train November 1, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • Commuters walk on the platform of the F train November 1, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

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