Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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Commuters Brace For Travel Delays From Suburbs

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Many New Yorkers who use Metro-North to commute to work on Monday faced significant detours because of Sunday’s train derailment. NY1's Roger Clark talked with commuters at Grand Central Terminal and Jose Martinez talked with others who took a bus to the 242nd Street No. 1 subway station.

The morning commute was a little tense for some Metro North Riders after Sunday's deadly derailment on the Hudson Line.

“I've been doing this for almost 35 years so you are pretty much used to it but when a tragedy like that happens, you can't help but feel a little nervous about things,” said a commuter at Grand Central Terminal on Monday morning.

Many riders who would usually take the Hudson Line drove to stations along the Harlem Line instead, avoiding a shuttle bus from Yonkers to the subway in the Bronx. Commuters we chatted with told us that made for some crowded trains on the way down.

"The train was full, there were people standing in the aisleways so definitely people altered their ride into the city. So busy day, but everybody kept their tempers and looks like we are going to get through this,” said a second commuter.

"It was a packed ride, I guess everyone from the Hudson Line was on my line, I guess, yeah,” said a third commuter. “I wasn't able to purchase my monthly pass today because of the lines, they were so long.”

"I feel really bad about what happened yesterday, especially to the families that were affected, but ultimately you gotta get up, you gotta throw your pants on and go to work and just proceed,” added the second commuter.

Overall commuters seemed to take the situation in stride and they were glad they made it to Grand Central safe and sound.

Meanwhile, many commuters were forced to take a shuttle bus from the Yonkers Metro-North train to the 242nd Street No. 1 station in the Bronx in order to get to Manhattan.

There were long lines at the station early Monday, which is unusual for the station because it rarely sees such a crush of commuters.

"It's horrible, it's pretty horrendous,” said one commuter.

MTA workers tried to provide some sense of direction.

"Metro-North, have your pass out! Show it at the gate!” yelled an MTA worker on Monday morning.

Lots of bewildered suburbanites, cut off from their normal commutes, tried to figure out the subway.

"Well, my normal commute from Croton Harmon to the city is about 50 minutes. So, so far now we're an hour and we're on the 1 train and I don't know how long this one's going to take,” a second commuter said.

It's going to be a while and space will be at a premium. And that's just to get into the 242nd Street station.

For the riders who usually commute out of the 242nd Street station, that means big changes, too.

"There's usually no one here. It's usually pretty sparse around this time,” said a regular No. 1 train rider.

The MTA put shuttle buses into service to get Metro North riders to the subway station and ran two extra No. 1 trains during peak periods.

Just how long might the squeezed commute last? The MTA isn't sure yet.

With no timetable in place for when things might get back to normal on Metro-North's Hudson line, riders on the No. 1 train might as well get used to a more crowded commute.

"I'm sure because of the accident there will be a lot more people who obviously need transportation down to the city,” said another commuter.

That includes Craig Muraszewski, who grabbed a cup of coffee for his nearly three-hour commute to Chelsea from his home in Putnam County.

"I'm not going to complain about the six-hour commute at all. Lots of other people have it much worse with the MTA,” said Muraszewski.

But it sure does make for quite a morning.

"I never ride the subway really to work. This is a totally new experience,” Muraszewski added.

For lots of new riders on the subway, welcome to our world.

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