By Paul Schott

Rail service between Westport and Grand Central Terminal resumed Friday morning, with most local commuters giving high marks to Metro-North Railroad's response after Superstorm Sandy.

However, both platforms at the Saugatuck Metro-North Railroad Station were lightly populated early Friday, as trains pulled into the depot for the first time since the railroad suspended service Sunday night.

All fares on the New Haven line were waived Friday at the direction of Gov. Dannel Malloy.

The town's commuter shuttle bus route between the Imperial Avenue parking lot and the Saugatuck station, and the S-1 line that connects the Saugatuck rail hub to downtown Westport, also returned to service on Friday.

The town's other shuttle bus routes are expected to resume soon, according to Norwalk Transit District officials, who manage the Westport transit system.

Unsurprisingly, Westport residents who commute to Manhattan said they were glad to be able to return to their offices via the train.

"You can work from home, but it's not the same as working in the office and not the same when you're not able to get to clients," said Dina Singer, who works at InStyle magazine. "But I've seen what other people are dealing with and this is not an inconvenience."

Of Metro-North's response to the storm, Singer said, "I think they've done the best that they can do ... They've done a lot in a short space of time."

Lance Mald, who works for the beauty company Avon, worked from home Monday and Tuesday, then navigated a four-hour drive to get to his midtown Manhattan office Wednesday. He took a train to Grand Central from Stamford on Thursday.

"I'm not complaining; a lot of people have it a lot of worse," he said. "Every day, it's getting a little easier."

Steve Kaplan, a lawyer at the Manhattan law firm Rosenfeld & Kaplan, also was pleased by Metro-North's post-storm response.

"I'm glad they got service before the end of the week," he said. "They're doing a much better job than CL&P."

Like most town residents, Kaplan's home was still without power Friday morning. In the meantime, he is staying with friends.

For Kim Leonard and her young son, Jack, the resumption of service meant that their long-planned trip to the Big Apple Circus would not be thwarted.

"I was nervous that we wouldn't be able to get in," she said. "We'll have fun today. I think Metro-North has done a great job. A lot of the economy depends on people being able to get to work. It was a priority."; 203-255-4561, ext. 118;