As Hurricane Sandy barrells down on the Northeast, every New York and New Jersey sweatpants-wearing shut-in is wondering, “When will the public transit reopen?”
Seven New York subway tunnels under the east river have flooded after last night's storm.
A statement from MTA chairman Joseph J. Lhota called Sandy the most "devastating" disaster in the system's 108 year history.
MTA systems will be closed all Tuesday. Lhota has not released a timeline for reopening but emphasized that, “All of us at the MTA are committed to restoring the system as quickly as we can to help bring New York back to normal.” On an early Tuesday morning WNYC radio interview Lhota confirmed that resuming subway service will be the first priority.
The MTA will not know when they will be re-opening the transit system until Tuesday.
The MTA has stated that any assessments are simply rumors:
But, the MTA has said that it will need to be very cautious before re-opening the subways:
According to CNN, water is entering New York's subway system from the East River, but pumps are working to get the water out, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.
The official word from the Metro Transit Authority, New York City's public transist administrator, is, “lines are closed indefinitely.” For those in New Jersey, the system shutdown is projected to continue into at least Tuesday.
[For Live Hurricane Sandy news and updates, see here]
NJ Transit would not say when buses and trains would be rolling again, but did say service would be stopped Through Tuesday. NJ Transit said up to 8,000 employees will be on deck to get limited service running as soon as possible.
Some of the tunnels in New York are already flooded:
Sunday at 7:00 p.m. the MTA shut down the New York City bus and subway system, as well as Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Rail Roal, and Staten Island railway in anticipation of high winds and flooding. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also suspended the full-scale NJ transit system. For those on the roads, all tunnels going between New York City and New Jersey will close at 2:00 p.m. on Monday. To find out when the systems will reopen continue to check the MTA and NJ transit sites, or call 511 (New York) or (973-275-5555) in New Jersey for updates.
Last year, Hurricane Irene shut down the public transit system for 36 hours. With Sandy’s large size, expect a longer wait time for transit reopening. New Jersey is projected to bear the brunt of the storm front, so New Yorkers can possibly expect service sooner, however MTA officials stress that safety will remain the ultimate priority.
According to the latest MTA report, “The duration of the service suspension is unknown, and there is no timetable for restoration. Service will be restored only when it is safe to do so, and after careful inspections of all equipment, tracks and other sub-systems. Even with minimal damage this is expected to be a lengthy process.”
Schools in the New York and New Jersey area are closed Tuesday.
Get on your fuzzy socks and invite some friends over. Looks like we’re house-bound for a while.