Tonight for the first time in the 116 year long history of NYC subway system, it will shut down between the hours of 1 am and 5 am for cleaning and disinfecting of every car, and every station. It starts tonight and will continue for the foreseeable future until restrictions imposed by the pandemic are lifted.
“In light of the pandemic and the rapid deterioration in the situation on the subways, with the homeless and to assure the public, our riders, and our employees that we’re doing everything to protect public health, we’re making this unprecedented decision,” MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye said explaining what led to the decision to close the subways.
The alternatives are buses or for hire vehicles, which will be provided free of charge for essential workers.
“The number of bus trips during this period is going to increase by over 1,100 bus trips, that’s more than 76% increase, and we’re adding 344 new buses on top of the 235 that are already deployed, so we’re increasing the operational fleet of buses by nearly 150% during the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. period,” Foye explained in an interview with WCBS 880. “We believe that most of our customers who are going to be inconvenienced and we recognize the inconvenience, we apologize for it, but it’s necessary. In light of making sure we can disinfect subway cars and stations and buses during the pandemic, most customers we believe will be served by the increased bus service that we put on the streets for the relatively small number of customers that can’t use my service because it’s not workable. There will be access to black livery cars who will take them home. One ride during the 1 to 5 period, one to four essential workers only, and three for those going either home, or to their to their workplace. We’ve reached out to employers generally throughout the five boroughs, including the chambers of commerce, individual large employers and labor unions, and we believe we’ve done a good job of getting the word out.”
NTPD and MTA Police will assist with emptying the stations and trains of all patrons, and homeless individuals will be directed to shelter and provided with other help needed, though this morning the Mayor declined to talk about how much this effort will cost.