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With train service curtailed, commuters turn to buses

Passengers at Boston’s South Station lined up on Monday to board a bus bound for New York City run by Greyhound.

Yoon S. Byun/Globe staff

Passengers at Boston’s South Station lined up on Monday to board a bus bound for New York City run by Greyhound.

Bus lines increased their service between Boston and New York Monday to handle an overflow of passengers following last week’s train derailment in Connecticut that suspended Amtrak services between the two cities.

Metro-North Railroad, which operates the rail and the two commuter trains that collided Friday, said regular train service on the lines would be restored by Wednesday morning. Amtrak, which is providing limited train service to New Haven and no service to New York, said it would resume service on Wednesday as well.

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Since the derailment, bus companies have sold out their Boston-New York routes, and at least two, Peter Pan Bus Lines and Megabus, said they were increasing the number of trips between the two cities to meet the demand.

Peter Pan spokeswoman Kimberly Bolduc said the bus company has added more than 75 buses along the corridor to handle an influx of 2,500 additional passengers since Friday evening. Megabus, which typically provides 22 departures a day between the two cities, added eight more trips Monday.

The effects of the Amtrak stoppage were felt at South Station, where the train terminal was mostly empty and long lines spiraled around the bus depot.

“I [usually] don’t travel anywhere,” said Mark Cymbala, 61, as he waited to board a second bus for the last leg of an eight-hour trip from New York back to his Dover, N.H., home. “I hate it. This is why.”

Cymbala and his wife, Madeline, 60, took their first Amtrak train together to New York on Friday morning to visit their son in Brooklyn. But their return trip was canceled, so they hopped on a Lucky Star bus in New York early Monday morning and arrived in South Station around 1 p.m.

“It’s ironic that the one time we want to take a train, this happens,” Madeline Cymbala said.

Patricia Dizon, 29, said she started looking for bus tickets when her train to New York on Sunday was canceled, and the earliest bus she could find departed Monday afternoon. She considered flying, until she saw the price had skyrocketed to $900.

“I feel lucky just to have a bus ticket,” she said.

Some travelers are resorting to rental cars. A Hertz spokeswoman said car rentals have increased at the company’s downtown Boston and suburban locations.

The train crash occurred Friday evening, when two commuter trains collided near Bridgeport, shutting down a 31-mile section of track.

Cliff Cole, an Amtrak spokesman, said Monday all 20 Acela Express trains that typically run between New York and Boston have been canceled. A handful of the service’s 18 Northeast Regional trains will continue to transport passengers from Boston to New Haven Tuesday.

From there, Metro-North and the Connecticut Department of Transportation are shuttling passengers by train to Bridgeport, where buses transport them to Stamford. Passengers can then take the commuter rail to New York.

Travelers are advised to arrive at bus and train terminals earlier than usual and expect delays until service is restored.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Taryn Luna can be reached at taryn.luna@globe.com.
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