The ‘queue’ train! Commuters warn of lengthy lines for shuttle buses

Limited subway service will begin tomorrow; Nets home opener postponed
Photo by Paul Martinka

Limited subway service returned to Brooklyn on Thursday, but storm-stranded commuters hoping to reach Manhattan on free shuttle buses found themselves waiting in lines as long as 90 minutes just to get onboard.

With no trains crossing the East River due to the power outage in Manhattan and snarled traffic along the Gowanus Expressway and Belt Parkway, many commuters stood in long lines that snaked along Jay Street in Downtown and wrapped around the Barclays Center — twice.

“I’ve never seen a line that long in my life,” said Park Slope commuter Danny Jones — who was so scared by the crowd outside the new arena that he opted to walk to Jay Street, where the line was comparatively shorter.

Other passengers said the demand simply exceeded the supply on the so-called “bus bridges,” which debuted alongside limited — but free — subway service within the borough at around 6 am.

“It’s an inconvenience, but at least it is moving,” said Christine Coenet, who had just gotten on the doubled-back line at Jay Street and the Myrtle Avenue Promenade.

The scene looked bad at the shuttle stop at Hewes Street and Broadway in Williamsburg, but some straphangers said it was far faster than the makeshift stations at Jay Street and the Barclays Center.

“If you need to get into Manhattan, Hewes Street is better than Downtown,” D.G. Wesley Jr. posted on Twitter.

The debut of the shuttle buses and the return of some subway service come after traffic moved at a standstill across the borough on Wednesday, with bumper-to-bumper situations on Fourth Avenue, Third Avenue, the Gowanus Expressway, and the East River bridges.

In an attempt to remedy backed up traffic on the Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn bridges, the city is only allowing vehicles containing three or more occupants on all East River crossings between 6 am and midnight. Taxis are exempt from this rule.

The flooded Brooklyn Battery Tunnel remains closed.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is now running partial service on:

The R line between 95th Street and Jay Street–MetroTech.

The M line between Myrtle Avenue–Broadway and Metropolitan Avenue.

• The F line between Avenue X and Jay Street–MetroTech, as well as a Manhattan and Queens section between 34th Street and 179th Street.

The A line between Jay Street–MetroTech and Lefferts Boulevard, as well as a Manhattan section between 34th and 168th streets.

The 4 line between Borough Hall and New Lots Avenue, as well as a Manhattan and Bronx section between Woodlawn and 42nd Street.

The 5 line between Atlantic Avenue–Barclays Center and Flatbush Avenue.

The J line between Hewes Street and Jamaica Center.

The D line between Bay Parkway and Atlantic Avenue–Barclays Center, as well as a Manhattan and Bronx section between 205th and 34th streets.

Other Brooklyn lines including the G, Q, C, and B, as well as the Brooklyn portion of the N line, remain out of service.

Partial East River Ferry service also returned on Thursday. The boats depart from North Williamsburg starting at 7 am, and pick up and drop off riders in Long Island City, Queens and E. 34th Street in Manhattan along the northern loop, and hit Brooklyn Bridge Park and Wall Street’s Pier 11 on the southern loop. The stops in Greenpoint and South Williamsburg remain closed.