After howls of protest, and the gathering of pitchforks and torches, etc. by mobs of unruly straphangers and politicians alike, the MTA's "three to five year" timeframe for restoring normal service has suddenly been reduced to "six to nine months":
Lawrence G. Reuter, the president of New York City Transit, said at a news conference yesterday that replacing the custom-made signal relays, switches and circuits would take less time than expected. "We were just this morning able to come to the determination that we could actually do this in six to nine months," Mr. Reuter said. "We were actually able to find enough relays left over in our system that we could salvage out of other jobs we had to do this work," he said...
Mr. Reuter said the A line - with an average weekday ridership of 470,000 - would be running at 50 percent to 60 percent of its regular frequency by early February and at 80 percent by the middle of April. It will take a full nine months to restore regular service on the C line, which has a ridership of 110,000. "We could do it faster but we'd have to shut the system down," Mr. Reuter said.
The forecast still calls for commuting hell for the foreseeable future.
Also, the Times and the Post (see also: here and here... the Post goes all-out on this one, three editorials on the same day) have weighed in helpfully today with editorials saying, basically, what the hell are we doing letting homeless people live in the subway tunnels, anyway?
The Post, subtle as a punch in the jaw, declares that it's time to "throw the bums out"; the Times, which wouldn't dream of talking that way about Residentially-Challenged Americans, advises that we should immediately mobilize our police and homeless outreach workers to clear the tunnels, which amounts to the same prescription.
Sounds nicer, though.
(Related: There are two sources left in the world for the ancient signal relays that burned up in Sunday's fire. Talk about your niche markets.)
Addendum, Wednesday evening: Gawker offers this highly significant grace note... a photo of a vigilant transit cop on the job.