New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority will end 24-hour subway service — a notion which previously would have been almost unthinkable for New York City’s around-the-clock activity — to meet Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call to disinfect all equipment daily as part of the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Cuomo announced during his daily coronavirus briefing that, beginning May 6, the MTA will shut down subway service between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. so equipment and stations can be disinfected, with police clearing stations and ensuring no one enters during that period. During that four-hour period, amNY reports, the MTA will offer an “Essential Connector” program using for-hire vehicles to offer free transportation for essential workers. Each customer will be limited to two trips per overnight, and must show proof of essential travel with their credentials to receive the free trip.
“This is as ambitious as anything we’ve ever undertaken and it’s going to require a lot of extraordinary service and effort from multiple agencies all working together,” Cuomo said at the briefing. “The MTA has stepped up by recommending this plan.”
The MTA had been rotating all its equipment through the disinfecting process every 72 hours, but Cuomo called for daily disinfecting to begin before May 15, when New York state starts reopening from its current stay-at-home order
Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road operations will not change, although the commuter railroads’ equipment will also be disinfected daily.