New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that the City Transit Authority will suspend 24-hour subway operations for four hours a night to disinfect cars and address the increase in homelessness,media outlet The Verge reported. New York City is known as the “Night City” thanks to its 24-hour subway service. But as the COVID-19 virus continues to ravage cities, Cuomo said it is necessary to protect subway workers who are particularly hard hit by the virus.
“This will be one of the most positive, creative, and challenging jobs that the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has done,” Cuomo said. The governor said the MTA will stop subway service from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. daily from May 6. “One to five o’clock is the time to stop operating,” Mr Cuomo said, during which time about 10,000 people took the subway.
He said the city and state governments would provide alternative travel services to key employees who needed to commute during those hours. During the suspension of services, there will be “buses, one dollar vans” and, if necessary, “rental vehicles” will be provided free of charge to basic staff during these hours.”
An Uber spokesman would not confirm whether Cuomo’s office or mTA had been in contact with the subsidy for the necessary workers to travel by car. “We are ready to temporarily help transport the necessary workers at a time when the city needs it. Like all New Yorkers, we rely on a strong public transportation system and are happy to play a small role in this crisis to help keep the system running safely. The spokesman said in a statement.
New York City’s public transportation has been affected by COVID-19, and the MTA reports a 90 percent drop in public transportation traffic in the city since the outbreak began. The agency has scaled back some train and bus services to cope with a drop in passengers, but many important workers still rely on buses to commute to and from work every day. More than 80 MTA employees have died from the new coronavirus infection.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has forced many homeless New Yorkers into the subway system. In response, Mr. Beth-howe ordered additional officers and staff to enter the subway station at night. But advocates say more needs to be done to protect these vulnerable people.