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Long Lines, Packed Buses, Frustration Dominate Monday Morning Commute

With the PATH trains still not working, thousands of extra people took the bus on the first real day back to work after Sandy.

Hoboken residents faced a messy Monday morning commute, with long bus lines and massive traffic all over town on New Jersey's first day back to work since Sandy hit a week ago. 

PATH trains remained suspended on Monday, due to damage to signal, control and substation equipment in multiple stations.

A long line wrapped around to Fifteenth Street at the uptown ferry terminal, as every boat was filled to capacity every 20 minutes. 

"It's about twice what it usually is," said Bernadette Brennan on her way into Manhattan. Brennan has commuted by ferry for the past five years. While the lines were long, most people were impressed with the order and speed with which commuters were able to get onto the boats.

The scene at Hoboken's uptown bus stops was much different.

As hundreds waited in line, most of the buses were already at capacity by the time they reached any of the stops.

Ryan Riemer, 23, usually takes the bus at 14th and Bloomfield Streets and waits for about five minutes. On Monday at 8:15 a.m., he was last in line on his usual corner. In his five minutes at the bus stop, he said, he had already seen 10 buses drive by -- all full.

"It's usually pretty fast," he said.

While a usual commute from Hoboken to Manhattan takes about 20 to 30 minutes, many residents said on Monday that it took more than two and a half hours to get to work.

At 13th and Washington Streets a little before 9 a.m., Michal Walfisch had just arrived to catch the 126 to Manhattan. It had taken her husband 45 minutes to get on a bus — after arriving at the bus stop at 7 a.m. — and by 8:30 a.m. he hadn't reached the Lincoln Tunnel yet, she said.

"It took him 20 minutes to get to 15th Street," Walfisch said. "Every bus is full."

Marie Dolan, who has lived in Hoboken for the last six months and usually takes the bus into Manhattan, said she took the bus on Thursday and Friday last week without any trouble.

"It was amazing," she said. "That's what I thought it'd be today."

Traffic on uptown Washington Street and into the Lincoln Tunnel didn't begin to ease until about 9:30 a.m.

At 13th and Washington, Zac McAnally, 26, had been waiting for more than an hour and hadn't been able to get on a bus yet.

On Thursday he had waited for the ferry to New York for two hours and he decided to take the bus in on Monday. "It's frustrating," he said.

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