Two weeks after Sandy, commutes still chaotic
Though the subway system has been almost fully restored in New York City, commuters coming from Staten Island and New Jersey still face rail closures and long lines two weeks after hurricane Sandy.
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Many still set off hours earlier than usual or stay at work late to try to avoid excruciatingly long waits at bus stops or to beat the traffic jams. Some carpool. Others bike.
Economists can't put a number on the financial hit caused by the closure of subways, railway lines and other transit services, some of which remain shuttered.
But research by congestion specialists and anecdotal evidence from companies suggests the hit could be significant.
Each hour of time stuck in transit or in traffic generally costs at least $16, according to estimates by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. This is how much people are willing to pay not be at a standstill and does not take into account money wasted on gasoline or wages lost due to lateness.
Data on the extra time spent on commutes after Sandy is not yet available, but people interviewed at train and bus stations last week said their travel times roughly doubled.
Similar estimates emerged from a survey of 315 people by Sarah Kaufman, a researcher at New York University's Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management.
"People who used one mode of transportation - say, a car or one bus - saw their commute time double. Two modes - a subway and a bus, or walking and taking a cab - took almost three times the amount of travel time," she said.
Kaufman also calculated a "stress index." Commuters from Staten Island, one of the areas hit hardest by the storm, reported stress levels of 7 out of 10. New Jersey residents, whose rail connections to the city have been largely severed, leading to long lines and waits for buses, had a stress index of 5.67. Those in Manhattan, who mostly suffered shorter shutdowns of the subway and buses, were more relaxed at 2.97.
NO SLEEP TIL MIDTOWN