New York City to Suspend Overnight Subway Service in Historic Move

nyc subway coronavirus closures

New York City to Suspend Overnight Subway Service

The New York City subway is one of the world’s oldest public transit systems and one of the most-used. It usually carries over 5.5 million riders daily and operates 24 hours per day, every day of the year. In its 116 year history, it has only temporarily closed because of extreme weather conditions, blackouts, labor strikes and the 9/11 terror attacks.

Now in a historic move, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City’s subway system will temporarily close for four hours overnight as the city and state combat the coronavirus crisis. The subway system will shutter nightly from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., starting next Wednesday, May 6th. Subway ridership has plummeted 92% since New York’s stay-at-home order went into place last month.

“Just think about it. The entire public transportation system in downstate New York will be disinfected every 24 hours. This is a joint MTA, state, city partnership. We’re doing a lot of things here that we’ve never done before,” Cuomo said.

The trains, which until now have been cleaned every 72 hours, will be cleaned and disinfected every 24 hours, Cuomo said. There are a total of 6,435 cars in the system, with 63 more in Staten Island.

The closure will affect an estimated 11,000 riders nightly, according to Cuomo and the MTA. Buses, vans and for-hire vehicles will be provided, but will hardly make up for the whole subway system.

For those workers who have to commute between those hours, the MTA will launch an “Essential Connector” program to link riders up with alternative means of transportation. Such workers will have to present proof of their employment as an essential worker, and be limited to two trips per night in for-hire vehicles. The MTA will pick up the tab.


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