Entries in Mass Transit (2)


Superstorm Sandy: Overwhelmed Transit Systems Latest Sandy Woe

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Northeast struggled to get back on its feet Thursday following the wallop it took from Sandy.  But the region was hampered by miles-long lines at the few gas stations that had power, an overwhelmed mass transit system and massive power outages.

Throughout New Jersey, the hardest hit state, motorists roamed for hours looking for a gas station that had power and gasoline.  And when a station was located, the line to the pump lasted up to two hours.

Those with gas who had to commute into New York City Thursday encountered a major traffic jam at the Lincoln Tunnel, one of only two entrances to the city from New Jersey that hadn't been closed down because of damage from Sandy.

Tens of thousands of motorists tried to beat New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's edict that after 6 a.m. cars must have three people in them or be turned away, creating a pre-dawn line for the tunnel that was backed up for more than a mile.

Even travel within the city was gridlocked as the mayor's three-passenger rule extended to bridges into Manhattan, making a trip from Brooklyn or Queens into the heart of the city last several hours.

The first limited bus and train service in the suburbs came to life Thursday, but many of the buses were quickly filled to capacity, creating enormous lines to get on them, and forcing drivers to skip stops and roll past hordes of waiting passengers.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recognized the seriousness of the transportation gridlock.

"I am declaring a transportation state of emergency and authorizing the MTA [Metropolitan Transportation Authority] to waive fares on rails, subways through the end of the week, Thursday and Friday," the governor said.

New York City buses serve 2.3 million people on an average day, and two days after the storm, they were trying to handle many of the 5.5 million daily subway riders, too.

"We are going to need some patience and some tolerance," Cuomo said.  Nevertheless, Cuomo assured New Yorkers, "The worst is behind us."

The storm, which struck Monday, has been blamed for dozens of deaths and put more than eight million people in the dark.

Power outages now stand at more than six million homes, with outages as far west as Wisconsin in the Midwest and as far south as the Carolinas.

New York's LaGuardia Airport reopened on Thursday -- the last of the region's major airports to resume air service.  But schools remain shut throughout the region.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


U.S. Plans Law Enforcement 'Surge' on Trains

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. authorities plan a law enforcement surge this week along Amtrak routes, an exercise called operation RailSafe.  The heads of the country's biggest mass transit systems were briefed on the possible terror threat, all part of what is being called an abundance of caution.

Amtrak is holding a high-security exercise on Friday in which uniformed officers will be a visible presence on national transit routes. RailSafe will include all the local police agencies along the Amtrak routes involved in the exercise. Amtrak's counterparts in Europe and Britain will also be holding an exercise called "Rail Action Day" on Friday, according to a senior Amtrak official in the security sector.

A senior Department of Homeland Security official said the exercise is "long-planned" and "is not connected in any way" to the terror threat in Europe.

The stepped-up security comes as the U.S. used drones Monday to attack a suspected center of the plot in Pakistan.

The target was one of the terror training camps in the Waziristan region, where U.S. officials say a contingent of German citizens of Afghan and Turkish descent have been preparing for jihad against Europe.

U.S. officials say some have already been dispatched, likely those with their faces obscured in a recently released propaganda tape.

However, Pakistani officials told ABC News that at least eight Germans, including the group's leader, known as Commander Fayaz, were killed today by CIA missiles launched from an unmanned aircraft. The suspected militants belonged to a group called Jehad al Islami.

The strike comes a day after the State Department issued a highly unusual travel advisory for Americans going to Europe because of the potential threat of Mumbai-style commando attacks on civilians, possibly by terrorists of German origin based in Waziristan. Authorities learned of the possible plot this summer from a German national who had been training for jihad and is being held by the U.S. in Afghanistan. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio