What to Know
- The dreaded "summer of hell' has arrived for rail riders in New York and is expected to last until the end of August
- Amtrak is beginning extensive repairs Monday to tracks and signals in Penn, which it owns and operates, it announced the overhaul in April
- LIRR riders can expect rush hour service to be reduced by as much as 19 percent; NJ Transit is diverting some rush hour trains to Hoboken
The MTA is offering eight park-and-ride stops in Nassau and Suffolk counties to bus Long Island Rail Road riders affected by the infrastructure overhaul at Penn Station, but by early Monday, the first day of the "summer of hell," one of them had filled up, another was nearly full and drivers were told to seek alternatives.
The Valley Stream park-and-ride lot, the smallest of the bunch with 125 spaces available, was full by 8:30 a.m., the LIRR tweeted. Drivers were directed to Belmont as an alternative. Earlier, before 6:45 a.m., the LIRR tweeted Melville, which has 200 spaces, was nearly full, directing drivers to Bethpage.
The MTA has details on all its park-and-ride locations, which have varying space -- from 125 to more than 650 spaces -- available. Bus service is free for LIRR riders. The initial redirect, which came before the peak of the morning rush had gotten underway, was met with a flurry of tweets from frustrated commuters.
"250 spaces or so. Geniuses. 700,000 people commuting," tweeted one rider. "I am lost here."
Another Twitter user pointed out "it's only 7 a.m."
One of New Jersey Transit's park-and-ride lots, the North Bergen Park & Ride, had also filled up, but not until about 10 a.m. Drivers were advised to use the Vince Lombardi option.
By most accounts, the first day of the service changes appeared to be going smoothly for other commuters affected by the Amtrak work at Penn. NJ Transit and LIRR trains were arriving on or close to schedule and riders did not describe extensive overcrowding or confusion. PATH users said trains were a bit more congested than usual, but there were no significant issues.
Amtrak began its eight-week infrastructure overhaul at the aging New York Penn Station Monday, an effort to repair and improve tracks and signals in the Manhattan hub it owns and operates. The railroad first announced in April, after the second derailment in two weeks, that it would address tracks and switches that have been crumbling at the transit hub for years.