LOWER MANHATTAN — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority reopened the decommissioned South Ferry subway platform Thursday morning as repairs to the newer, Hurricane Sandy-wrecked South Ferry station — which may take up to three years to complete — continue, officials said.
Service on the 1 train to the old South Ferry station resumed at 5 a.m. Thursday, with service running smoothly during the morning rush, MTA officials said.
Thousands of riders traveled though the newly opened station Thursday morning, happy their commutes were mostly back to normal.
"I'm just ecstatic the station is open," said Jessica Lyons, a laywer who works just a couple of blocks from the subway. "I travel down from the Upper West Side, and this cuts 15 minutes of walking time for me — which every commuter knows is a big deal, especially in bad weather or when you're running late."
Lyons and others said they had to get reacquainted with the old platform's exiting quirk — passengers can only get out at South Ferry station from the first five cars of the train.
But they noted that it's a small price to pay for a shorter commute.
In February, Thomas Prendergast, acting executive director of the MTA, told the City Council’s Transportation Committee he wanted to get service back to commuters as quickly as possible, either by relaunching the old station, or reopening the new one in stages.
The old South Ferry loop tracks had been out of public use since the new station opened in 2009, after a $545 million renovation. Out-of-service trains have continued to use the track.
Since the storm, the old loop has been used to turn 1 trains around at the tip of Manhattan.
The MTA has said repairs to the new station could cost up to $600 million.