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Heading safely back to the subway as Phase 2 of reopening begins in NYC

Posted at 7:14 PM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 22:36:46-04

NEW YORK — Phase 2 of New York City’s reopening could bring another 300,000 people back to the city's transit system.

MTA officials held a briefing on Monday to remind riders that masks are required. They also said the overnight subway closure from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. will continue to allow for deep disinfecting and system cleaning.

“Safety is our core mission at the MTA, and it will continue to be the cornerstone of everything we do,” said Interim President of New York City Transit Sarah Feinberg. “Mask vigilance is absolutely critical as New York reopens, and we urge our customers to continue to closely follow public health guidance by frequently washing their hands or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. We’ll be here every step of the way to safely welcome our customers back and I want to thank the incredible 54,000 men and women of NYC Transit for their unwavering dedication during this time.”

Last week, NYC Transit buses carried more than 50 percent of the normal number of bus passengers. On Friday, for the first time since the pandemic began in March, there were more than 1 million rides on buses.

The subway logged 985,000 swipes while Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road have seen about 15 percent of normal capacity.

Major employers have been asked to stagger work hours and riders are encouraged to travel off-peak and outside the normal rushes.

Transit officials say subways and most bus routes are now running normal operations and they will react and realign if possible during crowding conditions.

MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye said a report from consultants hired by the agency has recommended additional measures expanding temperature scans and ventilation procedures on buses and trains.

“Our review of best practices from systems around the globe and input from the business and labor communities and public health officials has produced an aggressive plan that is being made real by the talented and dedicated MTA workforce. We continue to thank our front-line employees – the heroes moving heroes – whose commitment to public service has been unwavering. We continue to ask for robust federal funding,” Foye said.

Decreased ridership and lower revenue from fees and taxes has created a deficit in the MTA budget.

The first federal stimulus package approved by Congress and President Donald Trump included $3.9 billion for the MTA.

Chairman Foye said that money will cover operations into next month. A second request of $3.9 billion is pending in a bill before the U.S. Senate.