NEW YORK - When you heard the sound of thousands of horns blowing at the same time on Thursday afternoon, several transit agencies hoped you took a moment to appreciate and honor the New York area's transportation workers. Those agencies teamed up for what they called the #SoundTheHorn campaign.
More than 4,000 long-haul trains, commuter trains, subways, buses, ferries, and other transit vehicles sounded their horns for at least two seconds at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 16, to pay tribute to the employees who are keeping the region moving during the coronavirus pandemic. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New Jersey Transit, Amtrak, Staten Island Ferry, NYC Ferry, NY Waterway, and other ferry and bus operators in the region were part of the campaign.
"Heroic transportation workers continue to provide critical service for healthcare workers, first responders, childcare workers, grocery store employees and other heroes who are performing critically essential work during the Covid-19 pandemic," the MTA said in a statement.
R179 subway cars operating on the J line. (MTA New York City Transit file)
MTA Chairman Patrick Foye called the agency's workers, many of whom have died of COVID-related causes, "heroes."
"They are courageously coming to work each day to perform their essential duties, which are critically important to this region during the pandemic," Foye said. "We hope this action will draw attention to their efforts and help further our employees’ spirit of solidarity with all New Yorkers."
An Amtrak Acela train leaving Penn Station in New York. (Amtrak file)
Amtrak senior executive VP Stephen Gardner said in a statement that transportation workers deserve to be recognized for their courage and selflessness.
"We are proud to participate with our partners and 'sound our horns' by honoring and thanking all of the heroes in the New York metropolitan area and across the nation who continue their essential and heroic service," Gardner said.
Ridership on the Staten Island Ferry is down nearly 90% and its crew has been affected by COVID-19, according to New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. But the ferry workers "remain dedicated to providing this critical transportation service for our essential workers as we all confront these challenges," she said.
"I thank all the region’s transportation workers for their incredible commitment and service," Trottenberg added.
The agencies ask you to post audio and video of trains, buses, or ferries sounding their horns on social media using the hashtag #SoundTheHorn and tag the transit agency.
NYC Ferry boat on the East River. (NYC Ferry/EDC file)