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That bit about December might be something you missed: while the MTA was commended for getting subway service back up within a few days after the storm, in fact the R train continued to be out-of-service between Brooklyn and Manhattan for months. Which surely is part of the reason why R riders are so angry: they just went through this shit. And now they have to go through it again? For six times as long? While fares continue to rise and service continues to diminish? It's already shitty enough to depend on the goddamn R train! (A local joke calls the R and the N, which stops at 59th Street just past the Bay Ridge border, the Rarely and the Never, though it's actually the R that never seems to come.)
Obviously if a tunnel needs to be fixed, it needs to be fixed. But the MTA can mitigate the burden it places on riders: it can increase D service, since more commuters will rely on that and the N to get into Manhattan, as well as the 2, 3, 4 and 5 at Atlantic Avenue; it can lower the fares on express buses, giving people a more reasonably priced alternative to the subway; it could offer shuttle buses from Court to Whitehall. (And somebody could get moving on finally restoring ferry service to the 69th Street Pier!) But of course the MTA's not going to do any of that, which everyone knows—and that's why they're pissed.
Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart