The R train doesn’t have a reputation for being speedy, but ecstatic Brooklyn straphangers say Friday’s restoration of interborough service on the hurricane-damaged line saves them tons of time.
Whether heading to work — or skipping it on account of the alleged Mayan end date — commuters celebrated the transit link between Brooklyn Heights and lower Manhattan, saying it cut as much as thirty minutes off of journeys on the first day of cross-river service since Hurricane Sandy struck in October.
“Going back to Brooklyn, you would have to take the N down to the Barclays Center, but who wants to go all the way down there when you’re heading Downtown?” asked Brooklyn resident Ron Adams, who blew off work on what he thought would be the last day of the world and instead spent a part of the day on the newly restored R train.
Interrupted service caused by damage inside the inundated Montague Street Tunnel didn’t just cause riders to backtrack during their commutes — it also forced them to rely on unpredictable connections.
“It’s a lot easier having the R train back, now I can just get off at Court Street,” said Prospect Heights commuter Liz Joseph, who found herself riding the C and F trains to get between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
The restoration of cross-river R service is the last piece of Brooklyn’s subway puzzle to return following the storm, which crippled the transit system and briefly forced Manhattan-bound commuters to wait on long lines for a “bus bridge,” drive and wait in even longer gas lines, hop on their bikes, or simply walk.
But there is one thing riders from Bay Ridge to Brooklyn Heights might miss now that the R train is running its full route: all that exercise they got schlepping to distant stations or making extra transfers as an alternative.
“I had to take the F to Jay Street and then I would have to walk to Borough Hall,” said Prospect Heights student Tarek Hassan.
And in another transit high note, the return of full R train service came hours before the first weekend in ages in which no Brooklyn subway lines will face service changes — a true holiday miracle.Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cn