HOBOKEN, N.J. - Brian McCarthy moved here from Manhattan last year and came to love his huge apartment and short train ride into New York. His boyfriend planned to move in this month.
Now, the couple can't get out of Hoboken fast enough.
Hurricane Sandy crippled the Port Authority Trans-Hudson line, a 24-hour subway that last year ferried 76.6 million passengers between Manhattan and New Jersey. The entire system was out for two weeks after the storm. A link to the World Trade Center was out for four weeks, and the Hoboken line just restored service last week. All trains are running from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. while repairs are being done, a project whose costs are expected to exceed $700 million.
Some users of the PATH train are fed up. Used to a 24-hour schedule, they say the lack of service is making it difficult to get into New York for work and social functions.
Many contend that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the system, has been less than transparent in letting riders know when service will be repaired or when system changes are made. Others are upset that shuttle buses do not run during the week.
Some have concluded it's just not worth relying on PATH service, in the short or long term, and are leaving New Jersey or seriously considering it.
"It's totally and completely because of the PATH," McCarthy, who works in Manhattan, said of his move. "I'm really heartbroken. I liked the place."
PATH officials have defended their efforts, citing the unprecedented scope of the damage to the system, but have also acknowledged they need to continue improving their communications.
PATH has said limited 24-hour service could be restored by New Year's Eve. Officials announced Monday that the system will run overnight New Year's Eve and Day. After that, the 5 a.m.-to-10 p.m. schedule will continue.
The Port Authority did not return an e-mail seeking comment. The agency has said the system suffered unprecedented damage. The nighttime shutdowns are to allow workers to repair the system, Bill Baroni, deputy executive director, said after the agency's meeting this month.
"It is our top priority to bring this PATH system back. We are doing extraordinary efforts to make that happen," he said.
For some, it's too late. Lila Symons, a typeface designer from Jersey City, was doing freelance work in Manhattan when the storm hit. The New Jersey native was hoping to stay close by the city she loves.
But an opportunity came along in Kansas City that she was very interested in. She thought it over, and one thing sent her over the edge, she said: PATH. She would have to leave hours early to get to assignments on time. She's moving this month.
"I was reluctant at first when I went to interview," she said. "But seeing what I've been through the last month and a half, it was an easy decision. I don't regret it."