It was “take as many seats as you like” for some commuters experimenting with the Long Island Rail Road’s express buses on Monday evening.
Less than a dozen people lined up for the no-extra-charge buses that left midtown Manhattan between 3 and 5:40 p.m., MTA employees said.
Both passengers on the 5:50 p.m. bus to Valley Stream said they might try different options on Tuesday, the second day of Amtrak’s summer of repairs at Penn Station.
Marsha Allen, 43, of Valley Stream started the day by taking a later-than-usual morning train.
But just “the thought of the crowds at Penn Station” prompted her to try the bus in the evening though she was not looking forward to a 90-minute ride.
“I think it’s a big inconvenience,” said Allen, a finance manager.
Though Monday’s commutes were fairly smooth, Allen noted that it was “just Day 1.”
Fretting she might be late for work on Tuesday, she was planning to take a morning train to Atlantic Terminal instead of Penn.
John Morr, 53, of Malverne appeared unfazed. He modified his morning trip, skipping Penn in favor of taking the train to the Hunterspoint Avenue and transferring to the subway.
This only added about five minutes to his trip, he said.
“All it is is time,” said the project manager at a pension fund.
Bus driver Celio Confienza said the hour-and-a-half-drive was typical for the evening rush hour, barring any accidents. “I’m used to traffic,” he said, adding that he was excited to be making the lengthy drive throughout the summer. The peak train ride from Penn to Valley Stream usually takes about 30 minutes.
The LIRR added nearly 2,500 parking spaces at seven temporary park-and-ride lots but only the Valley Stream lot filled up, according to the railroad’s Twitter account.
Motorists were directed to the Belmont Park lot as an alternative.