Tuesday's morning commute in southwestern Connecticut was a little tougher than Monday with more vehicles on the roads, more people on trains and plenty of headaches to go around. But Metro-North Railroad officials announced shortly after noon that limited train service between New Haven and Grand Central Terminal would resume at 3 p.m., just in time for the evening rush hour.
About 50 percent of the normal train service were to be operating on the New Haven Line, the MNR said on its website, with full service expected to be restored by Wednesday morning.
Traffic was bumper-to-bumper on I-95 and the Merritt Parkway during the peak rush hour period, between 7 and 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.
At 8 a.m., southbound traffic crawled for more than 20 miles on I-95 from the Moses Wheeler Bridge in Stratford to Darien.
On the Merritt, it was the same hellish commute with traffic creeping along from Exit 52 in Trumbull to nearly Route 7 in Norwalk.
Metro-North saw nearly double the ridership in had on Monday when the ridership for the entire New Haven Line was down by 20 percent. That meant waits for buses were longer, parking lots were full and more people and more crowded parking lots.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Aaron Donovan said there were no major problems reported. "Ridership is up slightly over Monday on the busses," he said. "Other than that it is running as expected."
It's was another challenging day of commuting before regular service resumes on Metro-North's rail line on Wednesday.
Those who got an early start to the morning commute were spared most of the headaches later commuters got.
Southport resident Danielle Chueka arrived 45 minutes early at the South Norwalk railroad station expecting a mob scene. Chueka worked from home Monday for her financial job in the city and was apprehensive about what would greet her in South Norwalk Tuesday morning. Ordinarily she takes the 7:45 a.m. Train from Fairfield. This morning her husband, who works in Norwalk gave her a ride to South Norwalk.
Looking around at a sparse platform, Chueka seemed pleased moments before getting on a 7 a.m. train to Grand Central Station.
"I was expecting huge crowds, but I think this is going to be fine," she said.
By 8 a.m. the MTA ran a dozen buses from Bridgeport to Stamford Tuesday morning. The official, who asked that his name not be used because he is not supposed to talk to the media, said each bus had an average of 65 people aboard.
"I haven't run into an irate customer yet," he said as a bus pulled out.
For many commuters from Stamford like Greg Slattery on the second real commuting day of the derailment crisis, the trip to New York didn't seem out of the ordinary. "It's pretty normal," he said just before stepping onto the 8:19 a.m. train to the city.
But for those beginning their morning journey east of Westport, it was a different story.
Hartford resident Rich Tomic was in a lather waiting to get on a train at 8:45 a.m. in Stamford. "This is a pain in the tuchas," he said after getting of a 70 minute bus ride with no air conditioning from Bridgeport.
Tomic drove to New Haven to catch the 6:55 a.m. train to Bridgeport. From there he took the bus to Stamford.
Still, he wasn't too angry about his commute, although he vowed to tell his boss who he does sales for at a legal business that he would not be returning to New York this week until the trains got straightened out. "It is a terrible situation, but the railroad is making the best of it that it can," he said.
Christel Rissolo began her commute in Branford Tuesday morning. After catching the 5:52 a.m. to Bridgeport with an unexpected 15 minute stop in New Haven, she hopped to bus to Stamford at 6:50.
Then, it was a "horrible" 90 minute ride to the Stamford station. Rissolo said her bus driver was not familiar with the area and began driving to Stratford, before passengers realized they were going in the wrong direction.
At the urging of another passenger the driver then exited I-95 and got on Route 1 for a number of miles before returning to the thruway in Norwalk.
At 8:40 a.m. While waiting on the platform waiting to get to her fashion job in the city Rissolo said, "I'm not even near my destination."