With the summer season officially kicking off and some beaches in the region re-opening, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) urged customers today to plan alternative travel through Memorial Day weekend as the agency will continue to run its limited Essential Service Plan implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means commuter trains, subways and buses continue to be reserved for essential workers only. All passengers riding trains or buses are required to wear a mask or face covering and engage in appropriate social distancing.
New York City beaches are open with restrictions on activities and sizes of gatherings. Many Long Island and Hudson Valley beaches have local residency restrictions and capacity limitations in place. Members of the MTA Police Department will be positioned at key locations throughout the MTA system to address potential crowding issues. The staff of New York City Transit, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad will monitor ridership levels on all routes and be prepared to take measures to flex service if necessary.
“We understand people have been cooped up and are going to want to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, but Essential Service remains for essential workers and those making essential trips only. It is not for recreational travel to beaches,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye. “We ask that New Yorkers plan weekend activities that conform with social distancing practices put forward by State and local authorities, and importantly, all customers are required to wear a mask.”
“Our workforce is undertaking heroic efforts to keep our region’s heroes moving, and to keep the public safe,” said LIRR President Phil Eng. “We ask the public to help honor their efforts by avoiding public transportation.”
“We need to preserve service under the Essential Service Plan for those who really need it, the doctors, nurses, first responders, pharmacists and grocery workers,” said Craig Cipriano, Acting Senior Vice President of Buses at New York City Transit and Acting President of the MTA Bus Company. “Part of keeping everyone safe for now is staying off the buses if you can.”
MTA employees are continuing their heroic efforts undertaking the most aggressive disinfecting program in MTA history – with trains and buses being disinfected at least once a day and stations at least twice daily. Earlier this week, the MTA launched the first ever pilot with UVC proven to kill COVID-19. On May 06, 2020, the MTA started its historic closing of subway system from 01:00 a.m. to 05:00 a.m. so that every major touch point in stations and subway cars can be thoroughly disinfected. The Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North also continue to evaluate the use of innovative cleaning solutions, including antimicrobials, electrostatic sprayers and more. The MTA launched an industry-leading “Temperature Brigade” on March 24, 2020, taking employee temperatures at work locations, implemented rear-door boarding on buses and eliminated cash transactions at stations and on commuter rails to prevent person-to-person contact to ensure the safety of operating employees. The health and safety of the MTA’s employees and customers continues to be the agency’s top priority.