NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New Yorkers continue to face obstacles as they try to return to pre-Sandy routines three days after the superstorm slammed the city.
New York’s subway system is slowly coming back to life. Fourteen of the 23 lines started rolling around 6 a.m. Thursday with partial service.
There is no service on the 3, 7, B, C, E, G, Q, Franklin Avenue Shuttle S, and Rockaway Park Shuttle S lines or any service in Manhattan south of 42nd Street or 34th Street.
“There’s a lot of clean-up still to do everywhere throughout the system and the flooded parts in lower Manhattan are going to be out for a very long time,” MTA spokesperson Marjorie Anders said.
Shuttle buses are running to Manhattan from three locations in Brooklyn since many of the East River tunnels remain flooded.
Atlantic Avenue/Barclays Center and Jay Street/MetroTech shuttles are operating via the Manhattan Bridge using bus-priority lanes on Bowery and Third Avenue, making stops at major cross streets all the way up to East 55th Street in the inbound direction, and via bus-priority lanes on Lexington Avenue, East 23rd Street, and Third Avenue and Bowery in the outbound direction.
The Hewes St. shuttle is operating via the Williamsburg Bridge and Delancey Street, then via Bowery and Third Avenue up to East 55th Street before returning downtown via Lexington Avenue, East 23rd Street, Third Avenue and Bowery.
Frustrations grew as hundreds of people waited in line for up to an hour trying to board the buses.
“I’m tired of waiting in line because they should have more buses than they have right now,” one commuter said. “They knew there were going to be a lot of people trying to go to work today.”
“It’s been very tough,” another commuter said. “It’s probably going to take me two hours to get to work today. I wish I could drive but since they said you have to be three persons to a car I don’t have two other people so I have to do this.”
Sen. Charles Schumer greeted commuters and tried to lift their spirits after massive lines formed outside the Barclays Center when the stream of buses slowed down.
“We’re a hearty lot in New York,” Schumer said. “There are long lines here, but people are understanding, they’re getting to work and this is working.”
“New Yorkers’ attitude is good, they’re not happy about this, make no mistake about it, but at the same time they understand the difficulty, they understand this was an act of God,” Schumer added.
The lines for the shuttle buses eased as the morning went on.
All subway and bus service is free through Friday.
To make up for the agency’s lost revenues, Sens. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency will fully reimburse New York City and New York State for the cost of the emergency public transportation.
FEMA will also fully reimburse the city and state for the costs of restoring power. Record numbers of customers across the Tri-State Area lost power due to Sandy.
The total reimbursement was approved at the request of President Obama, who toured the devastation in New Jersey on Wednesday.
FEMA is required by law to pay 75 percent of certain damages, but can, in the case of major disasters reimburse as much as 90 percent or 100 percent.
“This is a good first step on FEMA’s part, and an indication that they know how serious the damage from the storm is,” said Schumer. “This was not a New York disaster, or a New Jersey disaster or a Connecticut disaster, but a national disaster, and FEMA and the federal government should be providing help to the region to the full extent they can. I will continue to push the feds to reimburse the city and state for the full costs of repair and recovery for all aspects of the disaster.”
The funds will cover emergency transportation and power restoration costs from Oct. 30 to Nov. 9.
“I thank FEMA for stepping up and fully covering emergency public transportation and power costs to New York,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “This was one of the worst storms we have ever experienced and I will continue the push to secure the maximum federal funding our families need to recover and rebuild.”
Schumer said Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo were both hoping to have subway service fully restored by Monday.