NEW YORK - Ridership on New York's subways, buses, and commuter railroads has plummeted more than 80% since authorities took drastic steps to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus amid a global pandemic. And now the MTA has announced that it will begin reducing service on Wednesday in response to that drop.
Although Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered most New Yorkers to stay at home, tens of thousands of people who work in fields and businesses considered "essential" during this crisis still have to get to their jobs.
"The dramatic decrease in ridership shows our customers are continuing to follow the advice of health professionals to keep themselves and others safe," MTA Chairman Pat Foye said. "But we’re here for the critical workers and first responders, and I also want to thank our transit workers who continue to show up and keep New York moving every single day."
In the subway system, where ridership has fallen a whopping 87%, service will be reduced by about a quarter, according to chief operating officer Mario Peloquin. However, morning and evening peak service will stay the same.
Foye also said that shortage of workers has also caused subway delays; 52 workers have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday and many more are out sick.
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The MTA will also reduce service on the bus lines by about 25% beginning on Thursday.
"This means that customers who still need to use buses for essential activities will continue to be accommodated," the MTA said. "At the same time, the maximum number of buses needed is substantially reduced, requiring fewer operators and lessening crowding of depot facilities."
LIRR will have over 500 weekday trains running, compared to a typical weekday of over 740 trains. "The LIRR will also have crews and equipment on standby to supplement service if necessary," the agency said.
Metro-North will have hourly service on the Harlem, Hudson and New Haven lines, with extra trains added during peak times. "Normal weekday capacity will be reduced by approximately 50% when compared to a normal weekday," the MTA said. "The reduced schedule will run 424 trains, down from 713 during a normal schedule."
You can read more details about this plan here.