YONKERS, N.Y. – Several relieved commuters hopped off the Metro-North train in Yonkers Sunday evening, able to catch one of the last trains out of Manhattan for the foreseeable future.
The passengers were some of the last-minute riders able to beat the 7 p.m. deadline set by the Metropolitan Transit Authority before it suspended service indefinitely in preparation of the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.
“I’m just happy I was able to make it,” said Yonkers resident Carmen Avila. “Otherwise I might have been stranded.”
Yonkers resident Nicole Sanders was leaving her job at the Imperial Natural History Museum and had no idea of the deadline. It was by chance that she happened to catch one of the last trains out of Grand Central Station.
“I’m lucky I didn’t get stuck in the city,” she said.
The MTA’s closure of Metro-North was part of a preparation effort that also shut-down the Long Island Railroad as well as New York City’s subway and bus service. The duration of the Metro-North’s service suspension is unknown and there is no timetable for restoration, the MTA said.
Service will be restored only when it is safe to do so, after careful inspections of all equipment and tracks, a process MTA officials warned is expected to be lengthy no matter how significant the damage.
“Suspending the largest transportation system in North America is a monumental effort, and it is imperative that we start the process before we make a final decision, and before the worst of Hurricane Sandy reaches us,” MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota said in a statement.
While many train riders were happy to have made it out of Manhattan, Jessica Bevivino was heading in. Bevivino and her husband, Michael, were on their way to stay the night in a New York City hotel paid for by her employer as way to ensure she would be able to make it to work Monday.
Like many, the Yonkers resident said she hoped service would be restored as soon as possible.
“I have my fingers crossed,” she said.
Metro-North isn’t the only county transit line being shut down. On Sunday evening, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino ordered the suspension of the Bee-Line bus and ParaTransit services beginning at 9 p.m. The two lines will be suspended indefinitely.
In addition, the Bronx River Parkway will be shut down Monday morning at 6 a.m. All other highways in Westchester County will remain open but state and county officials may close them if the conditions call for it.