Straphangers who rely on R train worry 14-MONTH shutdown of Manhattan to Brooklyn service will cause nightmare commute

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BROOKLYN HEIGHTS (PIX11) – A big change for subway riders goes into affect Friday night and it’s all thanks to super storm Sandy.  At 11:30, the MTA will shutdown the Montague Street Tunnel for the next 14 months so they can make some major repairs.  The shutdown will cause some headaches for R train riders who commute between Brooklyn and Manhattan.

If you take the R train, you’ve probably seen the signs by now.  The R line will no longer run between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Manhattan bound trains will stop at Court Street.  The end of the line for Brooklyn bound trains will be Whitehall Street South Ferry.

Most subway riders who depend on the R like Inez Ramirez have already figured out a new way to get to work.

“I could take the F to the A and get off at Chambers Street,” Ramirez, who lives in Gravesend, said.

So for the people who depend on the R train, it’s not like they don’t have options to get to Manhattan.  After all there’s the 2,3,4,5,A,B,C,D,F,N, and Q trains.  That’s 11 in all if you’re counting.  But the MTA won’t be adding additional service to those lines, and with 65,000 additional riders who usually take the R train, most are worried those lines could get pretty crowded, especially during rush-hour.

“It’s like you’re squeezing in body by body, it’s so, unbelievable,” Juan Rivera of Park Slope said.

And for those trying to make the reverse commute into Brooklyn, like Kevin Spies who transfers from the PATH train, the tunnel shutdown may actually require you to go past your stop before you can back track.

“I have to take I guess the 2,3 to Atlantic, switch from Atlantic to go to Dekalb on the R or walk the 15, 20 minutes or whatever it is to Dekalb,” Jersey City resident Spies said.

Spies estimates the extra transfer or walk will add about a half hour to his daily commute. He says it’s a big enough inconvenience that he’s actually thinking about moving to Brooklyn just to avoid the headache.

“It’s not going to be fun,” he said.

Because there are so many trains, some riders PIX11 spoke to who’ve known about the repair work say they’re still a little confused about what will be their best option. So to help sort it out, the Straphangers Campaign will be handing out informational pamphlets at Jay Street during the Monday morning commute.  So you might want to have an extra cup of coffee to make sure you’re a little more alert.

And one just one more note: during the construction, the R line will run over the Manhattan Bridge on the weekends, which is different from the weekday route. So you might want to double check before you get on the train or try to avoid the R line all together if possible.