MIDTOWN — Amtrak’s “summer of hell” repairs kicked off at Penn Station early Monday morning — but many straphangers took to social media to say their commutes hadn't "lived up to the hype."
After Amtrak announced it would be carrying out track maintenance work at Penn Station beginning Monday morning and ending Sept. 1, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned it would likely be a “summer of hell” for Amtrak, NJ Transit and the Long Island Rail Road riders.
The train companies devised a range of alternatives for passengers whose regular commutes would be disrupted, but some passengers said Monday that the service changes hadn't affected their travels.
Took earlier train in preparation for new @NJTRANSIT schedule but the trip was surprisingly...painless?— Julia McCarthy (@julia_mccarthy1) July 10, 2017
Some commuters maintained the journey went more smoothly than their usual commutes.
Best NJ Transit commute I've had in months today. 9:26 Secaucus to Penn Station. If this is the Summer of Hell, we should do this everyday.— Eric Hazard (@EricHazard) July 10, 2017
First day of NJT's Summer of Hell and my normal commute into NYC was literally the smoothest it has ever been. O_O— Mitch De Castro 🌺 (@mitch_de_castro) July 10, 2017
Normal Monday: 60-minute delays, cancellations, people passing out on trains.— Pete Pirone (@PetePirone) July 10, 2017
"Summer of hell": on time.#lirr is upside down.
Transfers from the LIRR to Atlantic Terminal and the Hunterspoint Avenue stations seemed to be smoother sailing than officials had warned.
Hey, fellow commuters. This train to Hunterspoint Ave is surprisingly not packed. HP Ave is a really handy station. Try it.— LIRR Riders United (@LIRRRiderUnion) July 10, 2017
#summerofhell day 1. Went to Atlantic Terminal, got a cup of coffee, got to work a half hour early. Bring it on— TJ (@rebel_fatigues) July 10, 2017
A few straphangers expressed excitement about the discounts and free transfers being offered by LIRR and NJ Transit.
Going through Hoboken was not bad at all! As long as you got on the train early to get a seat. Plus it was only $5.50 compared to $10.75!— Alannah (@Ask_Alannah) July 10, 2017
Others only encountered delays when they transferred to the subway.
Some passengers, however, did encounter delays and overcrowding on their commutes into the city.
First day of the @LIRR "summer of hell" the train is more than 10 minutes late and packed so much you can't move— Brigid M. (@brigmac) July 10, 2017
A few people were irked more by press coverage of the service changes than by the changes themselves.
Summer of hell!? Is this the media's way of staying relevant...!? @NJTRANSIT wasn't bad on midtown direct - 30 min later than normal— Craig Levine (@LEV3LEV) July 10, 2017
Real question: What's worse, "summer of hell" commuting or the wall-to-wall news coverage of it?— Nate Becker (@natebecker) July 10, 2017
Others warned the evening commute could end up being worse than the morning one.
I want a picture of you on a train leaving NYC between 6pm-7pm, then come talk to me about "so far, so good".— Kevin Backman (@ThebloodyLRnut) July 10, 2017
It's tonight's commute that's going to be hell.— Kathy Morse (@KathyMorse0914) July 10, 2017
Officials said Monday evening that they were pleasantly surprised with the morning commute and hoped the evening rush would go as smoothly.
MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said more Long Island commuters took ferries and those riding trains opted to sit in the middle seats instead of standing in aisles, helping the system move.
While there were more people coming in from Long Island, many chose to get off at Jamaica or head to the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, decreasing the number of commuters into Penn Station by about 7,000, according to Lhota.
"This morning it worked really well and for that I’m grateful," the chairman said at a Penn Station press conference, adding that he wished he "had a piece of wood to knock on" for the evening commute.