LOWER MANHATTAN (PIX11) – The MTA tried to warn subway riders.
Extra crews handed out pamphlets and signs were posted throughout stations.
Still some R train riders, like Brandy Amrhein, were thrown off track on the first day the line was rerouted for repair work.
“We got on the R train thinking we were going to go to City Hall, and we noticed that we were crossing the bridge over into Brooklyn and we were kind of scared and confused. We figured out that we had to get back on the Q train to come back to Canal Street,” Amrhein said.
The last R train to travel through the Montague Street Tunnel for more than a year left Court Street Friday night around 11:30.
For the next 14-months, the MTA will repair the tunnel after it was flooded during Sandy.
27 million gallons of salt water ruined the tracks and signals and the MTA says it will cost more than $300 million to fix.
So for the next 14 months, R train riders will have to learn and navigate the new route.
On weekdays, Brooklyn bound R trains will stop at Whitehall Street South Ferry.
Manhattan bound trains will stop at court street in Brooklyn.
And on the weekends, the R train will instead travel over the Manhattan Bridge, skipping two stops in Brooklyn and four in lower Manhattan.
“It is something that is going to inconvenience our customers, but the alternative was to do this work on weekends and nights. If we took that attack, the work would have taken years,” MTA worker Kevin Ortiz said.
The changes are expected to affect 65-thousand riders, who were already experiencing increased delays along the “R” line because of the damage after Sandy.
So while the M-T-A tries to help riders get around during the planned service changes, advocates say most won’t really understand the new route until the regular work week commute.
“There’s really no way to see the impact on riders until Monday when rush hour hits,” Rebecca Bailin of Riders Alliance said.
Meaning, if you rely on the R train, you might want to leave a few extra minutes to get to the office Monday morning.