NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - The early-morning commute into New York City got off to a smooth start as Amtrak began extensive repairs to tracks and signals in Penn Station.
Monday's morning rush saw no crowds early on outside the Hoboken train and ferry stations, where New Jersey Transit is diverting some rush hour trains so passengers can switch to PATH trains or ferries.
New Jersey Transit spokesman Charles Ingoglie says the agency would like to think it's quiet because "a lot of people did their homework." He says some commuters also could be on vacation.
Service has been stepped up by trains, buses and ferries in anticipation of the busier commute.
Officials are waiting to see what happens as more commuters turn out throughout the morning.
Emergency repair work at Penn Station will shut down numerous tracks through September that will result in major service disruptions.
Dilapidated tracks were blamed for recent derailments that caused extensive delays for tens of thousands of daily commuters and Amtrak passengers who use Penn Station. The badly needed track repairs and replacement are set to begin, but not without a steep price: Service reductions at peak periods for Amtrak, NJ Transit, and the Long Island Railroad, which is run by the MTA.
Many commuters counted on the reliability of train service, but with so many problems, just getting to work has become a daily drama. Amtrak is in charge of the tracks, and will be doing the repairs. MTA Chairman, Joe Lhota, said not to expect a cure-all.
“We thought long and hard to make this as easy as possible to provide an array of options so people can get to work on time,” said Lhota.
No matter how you get into the city or get around, the change in routine and schedules could affect you with unexpected traffic congestion no matter what set of wheels you're on.
Plus, subway riders may notice their trains are even more jammed than usual as LIRR riders look for alternatives. Smart commuters already have their plan B and plan C.
The track work and schedule changes are expected to last until the end of August.
Extra bus and ferry service is being added to help ease the pain, but commuting will definitely require more planning, and we can always hope the ‘summer of hell’ won't live up to the hype. The ‘summer of hell’ will have a ripple effect on the subways.
Thousands of Long Island Railroad passengers who normally traveled directly to Penn Station will have the option of transferring to subways at Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and Hunter’s Point and Jamaica in Queens.
That will add to an already congested morning and evening commute, but the MTA said it is prepared to deal with the added straphangers.
PATH trains are also increasing service between Hoboken and 33rd street to accommodate riders affected by the Penn Station repairs.
Additional trains will be added during the morning and evening rush hours.
PATH will also cross-honor affected New Jersey Transit customers at certain stations
New Jersey Transit is also offering additional bus service during the morning rush.
Five buses will depart every half hour between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. from the Summit train station into the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Governor Cuomo has also suspending all non-emergency road construction during the duration of the Penn Station construction, which ends in September
All lanes will remain open on major roadways in the New York City area from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. in order to ease congestion.
For the latest information and travel alternatives, click the links below; and sign up for transit alerts on your phone.