[UPDATE BELOW—Subway service will resume Monday morning but expect delays, duh!] In his mid-day update on the state of the city post-Hurricane Irene, Mayor Bloomberg gave his estimation of what commuting will be like tomorrow: "It's fair to say you're going to have a tough commute. But, you know, we have tough commutes all the time." So good news first: MTA has begun restoring limited bus service as of 4:30 p.m. today, and it will be free for now. Bad news: no one has any idea yet when subway system will resume. [UPDATE BELOW]

Bus service "restoration will begin in Manhattan and the Bronx, followed by Queens and Brooklyn. Conditions in Staten Island continue to prevent restoration of service at this time," the MTA said in a statement. The buses will be free "until further notice," but NY1 reporter Jamie Shupak guesses that will be until subway service resumes.

PATH trains will resume service at 4 a.m. Monday, but the LIRR and Metro-North will not be running. MTA chief Jay Walder said today that Metro-North sustained the worst damage, with serious flooding on all three lines, power outages, and erosion of tracks. Area airports will reopen at 7 a.m. tomorrow, the Port Authority said.

Walder said that the subway can't restart until workers walk along all the tracks, calling in repair crews to fix anything broken, and then empty trains must be run along the tracks as a safety test. "We cannot restore passenger service until we've done it in that order. This is a difficult process...It will take some time." However, he defended the MTA's decision to shut down all service on Saturday at noon: "The yards where we relocated trains out of are yards that are underwater right now. Its' very clear that the actions to protect the system have helped us."

Update 7:35 p.m.: Some better news: a transit source told the Post, the IRT trains — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7—will likely be back up and running by noon tomorrow. The D is also expected to start around that time, possibly with a truncated route to avoid flooded areas around Coney Island. The rest of the lines could be running by as early as 3 p.m., with exceptions being stations or lines that were heavily damaged.

Update 8:00 p.m.: Well, the Post may have been a bit premature in publishing their report—according to The Wall Street Journal, service for many lines will return "in fits and starts" over the course of Monday, but some may take till Tuesday to be fully back in service, giving the MTA more wiggleroom to see how things go tomorrow. MTA sources also told Second Avenue Sagas that the Post's report was “not accurate.”

Update 8:38 p.m.: Subway service will resume Monday (8/29) morning! Governor Cuomo just issued a statement and here are the details:

Service Plan for Monday Morning Subways: With limited exceptions, service will resume across the subway system at 6:00 a.m. Monday morning. Service will be less frequent than normal, and customers should expect longer waits and more crowded trains. Frequency of service will improve over the course of the day.
· Exceptions:​
o 3 trains will operate between 137th Street/City College and New Lots Avenue; Substitute bus service will be provided between Harlem 148th Street and 135th Street connecting with the 2 train.
o C trains suspended; A trains will make all local stops from 207th St. to Lefferts Blvd.​
§ No service in the Rockaways. (Rockaway Blvd. to Far Rockaway and Rockaway Park)
o 6 trains runs local in the Bronx
o 7 trains run local
o S Franklin Avenue Shuttle (FAS) Suspended
o N trains terminate at Kings Highway. Shuttle bus service between Kings Highway and Stillwell Terminal.
· The Staten Island Railway will resume normal service at midnight tonight.
Buses: Limited bus service was restored in all five boroughs of New York City earlier this evening. Service levels will continue to increase but may not reach normal levels tomorrow.

Bridges and Tunnels: All MTA Bridges and Tunnels are open as of 7:00 p.m.

Access-a-Ride and Able Ride are expected to be operating normal service beginning at noon tomorrow. In the morning, these services will help return evacuees to their homes.

Additional details on Metro-North and LIRR service will be provided as soon as they become available.

The MTA’s regular fare and toll policy will resume tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m.

Governor Cuomo said, "Today government worked. Days of preparation and coordination prevented much injury and loss. The MTA will begin resumption of subway service Monday morning. I applaud the good work of the thousands of MTA professionals, National Guard and first responders for their advanced planning. Suspending service allowed the MTA to secure equipment, thus expediting the return to service. None of us should underestimate the damage caused by Hurricane Irene. One thing we can all be proud of is how New Yorkers came together as one. In the darkest hours New Yorkers shine the brightest. They did once again."

MTA Chairman Jay H. Walder said, “We still have a lot of work to do in parts of our 5,000-mile territory that were hit extremely hard by the storm, but we can now see very visible progress. Customers should stay tuned to mta.info for the latest updates."