NEW YORK CITY — The city's subway system will likely be down for the rest of the week following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
The subway was shut down Sunday night in preparation for the storm, and will be out of commission for four to five days, the mayor said at a news conference Tuesday morning.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joseph Lhota said the system has never seen anything like the destruction brought on by Hurricane Sandy.
"The MTA last night faced a disaster last night as devastating a disaster as its ever faced in its history," he said.
Seven subway tunnels underneath the East River were flooded with waters, officials said. Workers were starting to pump out the water from the tunnels and tracks, but that doesn't mean service will return immediately.
"And even then, it depends on what they find then when they pump out the tunnels," Bloomberg said.
The overwhelming amount of water dumped by Sandy drenched the underground system and soaked the electrified tracks with dangerous salt water.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in a separate press conference that bus service would restart Tuesday afternoon in parts of the city and fully by Wednesday. Buses are expected to begin hitting the streets about 5 p.m. on Tuesday, according to the MTA's Twitter account.
"And, as a little ray of light, no fares will be charged on the buses today and tomorrow as New Yorkers get their life back in gear," Cuomo said.
Bloomberg said bridges and roads "seem to be in good shape" a short time before Cuomo reopened the roads at noon.
The mayor also signed an executive order to authorize livery and taxi cabs to pick up additional passengers even while someone is already in the vehicle. Livery cabs and black cars will be allowed to accept street-hail passengers anywhere in the city, the mayor said.
Fares will be negotiated, officials said, and the driver must quote the fare right away.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said PATH trains will also be out of commission because of the storm. That rail system will be down 7 to 10 days, according to the Wall Street Journal.