MTA Welcomes Back More Riders As NYC Begins Phase 1 Reopening

Sean Adams
June 08, 2020 - 11:27 am

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A Phase 1 reopening for New York City means more buses and trains running again.

    Ridership dropped more than 90 percent systemwide amid the coronavirus pandemic, but now with an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 people getting back to work, the MTA is spinning up increased service on subways and buses, but with a detailed plan to keep riders and employees safe.

    Subways have returned to a regular weekday service, with the exception of the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. sutdown for nightly disinfecting. Buses are running on regular weekday/closed school service in Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. Buses are operating at 75 percent service in Manhattan Express bus service has also been restored.


    Masks are mandatory across the system and floor markings remind commuters to keep their distance. While the MTA is taking steps to keep riders apart, MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye said they're also being realistic.

    "We all want people to return to New York, to their jobs, to spending in New York City, paying taxes and doing what supports the city and state’s economy.," Foye told WCBS 880's Steve Scott. "We are not promising social distance on rush hour trains.  We're being candid with our customers.  But we're also being candid by telling you we're disinfecting every subway car and bus, commuter rail every night."

    The MTA is also testing UV light, antimicrobials and electrostatic applicators to kill lingering coronavirus.

    At the Columbus Circle subway station, commuters were adjusting to the new normal.

    "I was satisfied, everything was okay," one rider said.

    "They had spacing for people and there was a ton of trains, way more than usual," another rider said.

    If you forget your mask, check the booth where the MTA is handing them out for free. Foye said a recent survey found 92% of riders complying with the mask wearing mandate and he wants to see that number reach 100%.

    "The mask wearing is essential and this is a respiratory spread transmissible disease COVID-19.  If our customers continue the 92% compliance and drive it even higher, that will reduce significantly the public health risk to everybody, our customers and our employees," Foye said.

    There are no cash transactions. Commuters should use MetroCard machines and the OMNY contactless payment system. 

    People have also been asked to stagger their work hours and travel off-peak to minimize crowds. 

    CLICK HERE to read the MTA's 13-Point Action Plan for a safe return.

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