By Ben Fractenberg, Michael Ventura, Tom Liddy and Carla Zanoni
MANHATTAN — Metro-North service is set to resume normal weekday service for the majority of its lines on Tuesday after the commuter rail suffered heavy damage and flooding from Hurricane Irene, according to MTA officials.
Service on the Hudson Line, New Haven Main Line and the Lower Harlem Line as far as North White Plain, should resume in time for the Tuesday morning commute, the MTA said.
Service on the Upper Harlem and New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury branch lines, east of the Hudson River and west of the Hudson River on the Port Jervis Line, remained suspended. The Authority said the remaining suspensions make up approximately 15 percent of its peak customer base.
"We will continue to restore as much service as possible once we have determined that it is safe to do so," read a public statement from the authority.
"Metro-North crews continue to work around-the-clock to clear the tracks, repair signal systems and restore power despite trees that are continuing to fall. Following all repair efforts, patrol trains have to operate to ensure the safety of the tracks before resuming service," the statement continued.
Subway and bus service was fully restored earlier Monday, but few commuters seemed willing to head into work after Hurricane Irene.
As many people worked from home, or just didn't come in, seats were available on the subway. Sparse lines were seen at Starbucks and sidewalks weren't clogged with people.
"I got a seat on the PATH train," said Donald Presa, 54, who said a seat is rare on his commute from Hoboken, N.J., to his job near City Hall. "There are fewer people on the street."
Tamica Brown, 40, who was commuting from Red Hook to Lower Manhattan, said, "There were less people on the A train and it wasn't crowded on the F."
Subway service will be less frequent than normal and straphangers should expect crowded trains and longer waits, the MTA said. That situation should improve over the course of the week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
Here are some updates on other transportation services:
• Long Island Rail Road resumed most of its service Monday, although service remained suspended east of Huntington, east of Ronkonkoma and on the Long Beach, Oyster Bay, and Montauk Branches, on Monday night. There is no LIRR train service from Hunterspoint Avenue or Long Island City. Check www.mta.info for updates on when lines are restored.
• PATH trains were running normally Monday.
• NJ Transit will resume limited train service Tuesday. Bus and light rail service will operate on a regular weekday schedule. Check the agency's website for updates on when service would be restored.
• Taxis returned to the normal, metered fare system on Monday.
• JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports reopened Monday. Passengers are still advised to call their airlines ahead of their flights.
• All MTA bridges and tunnels reopened Monday.
• The Staten Island Railway resumed normal service Monday.
• Staten Island Ferry service is running on a normal schedule.
• Access-a-Ride and Able Ride had resumed at normal service levels by Monday.
• There will be no rail service to the Meadowlands Sports Complex Monday night because of limited equipment and crew. Coach USA will supplement its bus service from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Visit www.mta.info for additional schedule information.
Bloomberg said he got a call during dinner Sunday night from MTA Chairman Jay Walder who said service would be restored by the morning commute.
“It did put a smile on my face because I was dreading getting to work without the subway,” Bloomberg said.
As the morning rush started Monday, commuters at the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn were eager to get to work.
On Sunday afternoon, the MTA restored bus service in all five boroughs as the transit agency worked to get public transportation back up and running. Service in Manhattan was functioning normally in Manhattan by Monday morning, but there were residual service delays and changes in the outer boroughs. Check www.mta.info for specific route information.
"As much as I would like to have a day off I've been on vacation so I'd like to get back to work," said Clairmont Walrond, 46, who was waiting for an LIRR train to Hicksville, Long Island. "I'm patiently waiting."
Earl Allen, 46, who was taking the 3 train from Brooklyin into Manhattan said he and some coworkers had organized a car pool in case the trains weren't running.
Allen said he woke up this morning and "heard the trains were running," so decided to brave the commute.
"I think everything turned out well," said Allen about the storm.