South Jersey's transportation systems slowly began to shut down Sunday in preparation for Hurricane Sandy.
Flights were canceled, sections of highways closed, and NJ Transit ceased service.
The majority of the scheduled flights into and out of Atlantic City International Airport were canceled for Sunday evening through Monday. Kevin Rehmann, a spokesman for the South Jersey Transportation Authority which operates the airport and the Atlantic City Expressway, said Spirit Airlines announced the changes Sunday afternoon.
The airport, however, will remain open until further notice. Some private and charter planes were still arriving and departing at the airport Sunday, Rehmann said.
Most residents heeding Gov. Chris Christie's orders to evacuate the barrier islands by 4 p.m. Sunday were far more concerned about ground transportation than flights. NJ Transit began a system-wide shutdown on Sunday with the last train departing Atlantic City at 2:43 p.m.
Meanwhile, the expressway inbound to Atlantic City was shut down at 4 p.m, east of Exit 5. That exit, for Route 9 in Pleasantville, is now the last accessible exit eastbound. Anyone who traveled past exit 5 would be stopped at the intercept lot near the Atlantic City Welcome Center and turned around, Rehmann said.
"If you get that far, all you'll see are signs saying, 'Atlantic City closed' and 'Barrier islands closed,"' Rehmann said.
As the deadline for evacuation neared Sunday afternoon, taxi drivers were still driving around and stopping at casinos and other populated areas to find clients.
“We are just waiting until the (outbound) rush is done, probably around 10,” said Md Mobarak Hussain, 28, of Atlantic City.
Fellow taxi driver Mannan Kazi was also at the taxi stand at Tropicana, saying that they had been driving to the bus station and onto the mainland since the morning.
“We are bachelors so we can stay. The ones with families already left,” Hussain said of the other taxi drivers.