The New York Metropolis subway, a 24/7 behemoth that not often shuts down, is shutting down — however simply at evening.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will droop subway service for 4 hours each night to disinfect trains and take care of an uptick in homelessness, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Invoice de Blasio introduced Thursday.
New York Metropolis’s repute as a “metropolis that by no means sleeps” is usually because of its 24-hour subway service. However with COVID-19 persevering with to ravage town, Cuomo stated the step was mandatory to guard transit staff who’ve been particularly onerous hit by the virus.
“That is going to be some of the aggressive, artistic, difficult undertakings the MTA has performed,” Cuomo stated.
The governor stated the MTA will cease practice service each evening from 1AM to 5AM, beginning Might sixth — although he wouldn’t decide to an finish date. “One to 5 are the gradual hours,” Cuomo stated, noting that about 10,000 folks journey the system throughout that time period.
He stated town and state will present various journey for important workers who must get to and from work throughout these hours. In the course of the time when service is suspended, there might be “buses, greenback vans” and, if mandatory, “for-hire automobiles for gratis to the important employee throughout these hours.”
A spokesperson for Uber wouldn’t affirm whether or not Cuomo’s workplace or the MTA had reached out about subsidizing ride-hail journeys for important staff. “We’re able to briefly assist transfer important staff throughout this second of want for the Metropolis. Like all New Yorkers, we depend on a sturdy public transit system and are glad to play a small position throughout this disaster to assist hold it working safely,” the spokesperson stated in a press release.
Public transportation in New York Metropolis has been ravaged by COVID-19, with the MTA has reported a 90 p.c drop in ridership for the reason that begin of the pandemic. The company has curtailed some practice and bus service to handle the drop in riders, however many important staff nonetheless rely on transit to get to and from work day by day. Over 80 MTA employees have died from the virus.
An increase in homelessness on the subways has turn out to be a focus for town’s tabloid newspapers, posting lurid photos and videos, and describing a few of the trains as trying like “shantytowns.”
Outbreaks of COVID-19 in shelters have pushed many homeless New Yorkers into the subway system to keep away from catching the virus. In response, de Blasio has ordered an extra variety of cops and outreach staff into subway stations at evening. However advocates say extra must be performed to guard these weak populations.