MTA Chair: '1st Closing Of Subways In 115 Years Was Successful'

WCBS 880 Newsroom
May 06, 2020 - 8:12 am

    Sign up for WCBS 880's daily newsletter for the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic.

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – MTA Chairman Pat Foye told WCBS 880 on Wednesday that the first night of daily subway closures for disinfection went well, with nearly every train car in service disinfected.

    “I think it’s fair to say that it was a quite successful first closing of the subways overnight for the first time in the 115-year history of the subway,” Foye told WCBS 880's Steve Scott. “We cleaned and disinfected nearly every car in service.”

    All 472 stations across the system are being closed from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. each morning so workers can disinfect trains in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

    Foye said 700 TWU and contractor cleaners were joined by 1,000 NYPD officers.

    “The NYPD was everywhere. The MTA police were also involved in working smartly on this effort,” Foye said. “We had outreach teams and social workers.”

    Foye said most essential workers were served by bus service and that 76 percent more bus trips were added, with more than double the number of buses running.

    “The bus service was effective. There was no crowing in any of the four boroughs,” Foye said, noting that the new plan doesn’t affect Staten Island, where the Staten Island Railway continues to run as usual.

    Foye said there were about 250 for-hire vehicle trips for the essential workers on the first night.

    The Daily News reported that about 2,000 homeless people are in the subway system each night. Foye said the homeless were removed safely and effectively with the help of outreach teams made up of officers and nurses that were deployed to 29 end-of-line stations.

    “It went well. It was peaceful. Not only the homeless, but everyone in the station come 1 a.m. had to leave the station,” Foye said. “It was professional. It was nonconfrontational.”

    Foye said the agency will continue to improve the service as time goes on.

    “I think for a debut closing of the subways, it can only characterized as successful,” Foye said. “It will be better Thursday morning. It will be better on Friday. We’re going to continue to tweak it, but I think it was a successful closing.”


    Mayor Bill de Blasio said at his coronavirus briefing Wednesday that the subway will "absolutely" return to a 24/7 service after the pandemic has ended.

    The mayor said he and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have talked about the issue of bringing back the subway.

    "He was clear, I was clear, we were totally unified that we will return to 24-hour service," de Blasio said. 

    "Obviously the state runs the MTA, but this was something for me that was a prerequisite for the city agreeing to this plan," the mayor said. "We wanted to know that when this crisis is over we would resume 24-hour service."

    De Blasio said the subway would return to normal when "the crisis is over." He said it could be a "matter of months" before "we can go back to the 24-hour service."

    Stay informed, stay connected — follow WCBS 880 on Facebook and TwitterDownload the RADIO.COM app + favorite WCBS 880 for breaking news, traffic and weather alerts.