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Commuters Remember 1980 Transit Strike

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TWC News: Commuters Remember 1980 Transit Strike
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During the last transit strike, the Brooklyn Bridge became a pedestrian thoroughfare, and people started wearing sneakers to work. The potential transit strike has many people reminiscing about 1980, and praying it won't happen again. NY1's Rita Nissan has more in the following report.

Get ready to take a walk or ride a bike. That's what many of us did back in 1980, during the city's last transit strike. It was no joy ride.

“I remember people on bicycles, walking to work, people not even being able to get to work, and classes at school being cancelled. It disrupted the education in New York City,” said John Burke.

For 11 days in 1980, there was no subway and bus service. Sneakers became fashionable office footwear.

“It was like a marathon going through the Brooklyn Bridge,” said Alex Escobar. “That's when people started wearing sneakers, which is now common in the city, people wearing suits with sneakers. That was interesting.”

Maria Stephan remembers the trek to work. She says it was a nightmare.

“I was driven down to the Brooklyn Bridge, walked over the bridge and walked uptown,” said Stephan. “It took two and a half hours to get to work, and then we waited until 8:00 or 9:00 at night until we started the process and went home.”

There were long days and long nights. Recalling the strike of 22 years ago has many people dreading what could come.

”It was a disaster,” said Jean Ifill. “It was very terrible to get to and from work. People had to go through the bridge. I wouldn't like that to happen again.”

At least commuters have a sense of what they're in for this time. Better ditch the heels and lace up the sneakers.

- Rita Nissan
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