NYC’s 24-hour subway service resumes 1 year after COVID shutdown
New York City’s subway system’s last COVID-related overnight shutdown occurred Sunday morning as 24-hour service will resume on Monday morning. The subway system, the nation’s largest, started closing down in the overnight hours in May 2020 for cleaning during the COVID-19 crisis in the city.
The subway’s ridership reached 2 million riders on April 8, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office — a high since the pandemic began — and this week had an average daily ridership over 2 million. Ridership is still down from the pre-pandemic average daily ridership of 5.4 million.
MTA chairman Pat Foye said Sunday this is a “critical moment in New York City’s recovery, and at the MTA we have a singular focus right now, and that is bringing riders back to mass transit,” according to Spectrum News 1.
“This goes hand in hand with providing a safe and secure environment where people feel comfortable to ride,” he added.
The system’s overnight reopening comes amid a recent increase in crime on the subway. On Friday, there were four slashings that injured five people in a series of attacks throughout the subway system in Manhattan. Police said Saturday that three teens were charged in connection with the attacks.
One of the victims, who was slashed below his eye, told CBS New York that he is traumatized by the incident but he will continue taking the subway.
“I just didn’t think something like this would happen to me,” he said.
According to CBS New York, the MTA said that in a perfect world, there would be 600-800 police officers to patrol the subway system.
Cuomo announced earlier in May that the 24-hour service would resume as the curfew on outdoor dining ended on May 17. The indoor curfews are set to end on May 31.
Officials said Sunday that the trains will now be cleaned at the terminals.
“We’re going to be asking customers to get off to allow the cleaning to occur,” Foye said. “If people are on the car, we’re not going to clean around them. We’re not going to ask transit workers to do that.”
When the overnight shutdown began on May 6, 2020, trains did not run from 1-5 a.m. Those hours were later adjusted to 2-4 a.m. in February. In the 113-year history of the subway system, it had only been closed for short periods in times of emergency.