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Six Months After Sandy: Rockaways Commute Taking Its Toll, Residents Say

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It was never a breeze of a commute, but after six months without Rockaways A train service, straphangers are weary of the long daily slog home on buses, trains and even ferries. NY1's transit reporter Jose Martinez made the commute with one man who's eager to get the A rolling again in the Rockaways and filed the following report.

It's the end of the workday, but when you live in the Rockaways, getting home is no easy task.

Since Sandy knocked out the peninsula's A train link to the rest of the city, the commute for the 35,000 Rockaways straphangers who use the line daily has become a lot longer.

Resident Daniel Kenny says he used to make it home from Manhattan in about an hour.

"It's a, it's a bit of a mess," Kenny said.

After six months of nastier-than-normal commutes, Kenny can't wait for the return of the A train to the Rockaways - or to say goodbye to battling crowds on Woodhaven Boulevard for a spot on the Q53 bus - after transferring from the F to the A.

"Dealing with the grueling commute has always been part and parcel of living there. But I think at this point, people are just fed up. They just want to get home at the end of a hard day," Kenny said.

On a recent night, luck was on his side as there was no wait for the A at West 4th Street and a Q53 arrived in under three minutes.

Just over an hour into the trip and Daniel assures NY1 that it's not the norm. On the best day, he says, he can get home in an hour and a half from midtown Manhattan. And on the worst, it's two hours and beyond.

Often, Rockaways residents say, just getting on a bus turns into a scrap, with commuters pushing their way onto crowded buses along Woodhaven Boulevard.

"Chaotic," said one Rockaways commuter.

The MTA says it's aiming to restore Rockaways A train service toward the end of June. But with workers still doing repair work along four miles of badly damaged tracks, that target date is drawing ever closer and in a hurry.

"I never thought I'd be saying this, but I can't wait for the A train to come back. It was always a long and difficult ride, but at least it was always there," Kenny said.

In the meantime, Kenny will keep hoping for more commutes like the most recent, when he happily goes door to door in an hour and 40 minutes.

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