Commuters to face packed trains, subways Monday

Commuters travel trough the 59th Street subway station Commuters travel trough the 59th Street subway station in New York during the first day of limited subway after Hurricane Sandy. (Nov. 1, 2012) Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

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Long Island commuters face packed trains and subways for Monday morning's rush as some service continues to be limited, students return to city schools and the gasoline shortage forces drivers onto mass transit.

Subway service expanded Sunday, buses are running at or near normal, and the Long Island Rail Road will have limited service on eight of its 11 routes Monday. But much repair and restoration work remains on the region's public transportation systems.

"We are in uncharted territory as far as bringing the system back because of the amount of damage and salt water in our system," Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Joseph Lhota said in a news briefing Sunday.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo urged commuters to be flexible and patient. "Service will not be normal," Cuomo said at the briefing. "And we need you [commuters] to understand that before you enter the system. The volume will be way up. The schools will be open, and because of the gas problem, you'll have many more people on mass transit."

Lhota asked riders to "think about flex time or leaving earlier or later" in the day to reduce crowding on public transportation.

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LIRR trains will run an hourly schedule on all routes except the Long Beach branch, which was flooded and severely damaged by superstorm Sandy last week. Trains on the Ronkonkoma branch will not operate east of Ronkonkoma, and trains on the Montauk branch will not operate east of Speonk.

Off-peak fares will be in effect and the onboard penalty fare will be waived. An October monthly ticket remains valid for travel through Monday.

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Flooding from the storm closed two East River tunnels operated by Amtrak into Penn Station, leading to the need for reduced LIRR schedules.

New York City subways Sunday expanded to return normal service to the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 lines.

Riders can take subways between Brooklyn and Manhattan after days of having to use buses. The D and J lines will travel across the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, Cuomo said.

The South Ferry subway station in lower Manhattan, which had "been a large fish tank" after the storm, according to Lhota, has been pumped out and limited service was restored to the 1 train.

No trains are running on the B, C, E and G subway lines.

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Last week's carpool restrictions on the East River bridges have been lifted.

The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, formerly the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel remain closed. The Holland Tunnel is open to buses only.

Cuomo also suspended tolls on the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge to the Rockaways, retroactive to when the bridges reopened after the storm.

The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry was to add service Sunday night to help move equipment and personnel working in Long Island's cleanup efforts.

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