Full weekend MTA service after flooding disruption

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Saturday, September 30, 2023
NY Gov. Hochul, MTA confirm full weekend service after record rainfall
New York Governor Kathy Hochul and MTA CEO Janno Lieber provide an update on the aftermath of Friday's historic rainfall.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York Governor Kathy Hochul says the MTA is running full weekend service following Friday's record rainfall and flooding.

During a press conference Saturday morning, Hochul and MTA Chairman Janno Lieber confirmed the update, while also commending New Yorkers for staying home through the severe weather and the MTA workers for maintaining service for commuters through the day. "You are our heroes, you are extraordinary, you got the job done."

"I want to thank the brave bus drivers and operators, who gave a lifeline to people who otherwise would have been stranded," Hochul added. "That is an extraordinary accomplishment."

Gov. Hochul noted that 28 people were rescued by first responders and there were no deaths in the storm she described as "historic."

Hochul also continued to put the cause of Friday to climate change. "This is unfortunately what we have to expect is the new normal." Going forward, she wants everyone to stay vigilant and prepared for future storms such as Friday reiterated again of the "new normal."

The state of emergency put into place for the storm will be in effect for the next six days.

On Friday, virtually every subway line was at least partly suspended, rerouted or running with delays. Metro-North commuter rail service from Manhattan was suspended for much of the day but began resuming by evening. The Long Island Rail Road was snarled, 44 of the city's 3,500 buses became stranded and bus service was disrupted citywide, transit officials said.

Lindsay Tuchman reports from Columbus Circle with the latest on the aftermath of Friday's historic rainfall in NYC.

"When it stops the buses, you know it's bad," Brooklyn high school student Malachi Clark said after trying to get home by bus, then subway. School buses were running, but they transport only a fraction of public school students, many of them disabled.

A long line of people snaked from the ticket counter in the afternoon at Grand Central Terminal, where Mike Tags was among those whose trains had been canceled. Railroad employees had suggested possible workarounds, but he wondered whether they would work out.

"So I'm going to sit here, ride it out, until they open up," he said.

Metro-North commuters spent more than five agonizing hours in a crowded Grand Central Terminal, with all three of its lines, including Hudson, Harlem and New Haven, blocked by flooding. All lines were restored with limited service from Grand Central Terminal by Friday evening.

Mike Tags was among those whose Metro-North trains had been canceled. Railroad employees had suggested possible workarounds, but he wondered whether they would work out.

"So I'm going to sit here, ride it out, until they open up," he said

The Harlem and New Haven lines share the same section of track in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, which had been completely flooded.

The MTA has spent billions since Superstorm Sandy to make its systems more resilient.

The Mott Haven area is on their list, but they just haven't gotten to it yet.

"We literally have put in a request for a federal grant to do work on this Mott Haven area of the Metro-North system," Lieber said. "So, it's very timely, we are very well aware of this particular area of vulnerability. We've done a ton of work, we have more to go."

Heavy rain Friday brought water into the Penn Station and 59th Street subway stations in Manhattan.

Despite the disruptions, MTA Chairman Janno Lieber said that the situation could have been much worse.

"We had very low commuter levels this morning," Lieber said. "Of course, it's a post-COVID Friday, which is generally a low commuting day, but the fact that the governor and the MTA were able to alert people was definitely a plus."

Lieber said that preparations for this heavy rain started Thursday when the agency learned of the challenging forecast.

"We staged equipment, we got pump trains ready, we got people in place," Lieber said. "We had pumps on trucks. We checked all of our drains to make sure that that we had appropriate protection in place."

Check mta.info for the latest service updates from the MTA.

Water bursts through subway station walls amid NYC flash flooding


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