New York City Transit (NYCT) and MTA Bus today issued an update on efforts to protect its heroic workforce of 53,000 employees. The MTA continues to aggressively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and take action to protect its workforce, including installing plexiglass barriers at 85 subway and bus locations, implementing a vinyl shield pilot program to protect bus operators, staggering reporting locations and break times, and expanding the nation-leading “Temperature Brigade.”
“We continue to do everything possible to protect our employees,” said Sarah Feinberg, Interim President, New York City Transit. “Our heroic employees are literally helping to save lives by keeping service running during this incredibly difficult time. Nothing is more important than their health and safety, and that our of customers.”
“New York City Transit is working tirelessly to ensure the safety of our brave workforce, who are the heroes moving heroes of this pandemic,” said Sally Librera, NYCT Senior Vice President, Department of Subways. “We commend our employees for their dedication and tremendous work, and appreciate that so many of them have taken on new and modified roles to best deliver essential service and keep our customers and workforce safe.”
“Every action taken by New York City Transit and MTA Bus is to protect our heroic employees and our customers,” said Craig Cipriano, Acting President, MTA Bus; Acting Senior Vice President, NYCT Department of Buses. “Safety remains our number one priority as we work to transport the essential personnel of this crisis: doctors, nurses, first responders, grocery, pharmacy and childcare workers.”
The following actions have been taken:
- 123 plexiglass barriers installed across 54 subway work locations to promote safe work environments, and additional installations continue
- 93 plexiglass barriers installed at work locations at all 28 bus depots and three central maintenance facilities;
- Pilot program underway to install vinyl shields on buses to further separate operators and customers;
- Temperature taking services introduced at more than 55 reporting locations systemwide, including 36 subway and 12 bus locations with additional facilities added each day. These locations include bus depots and shops, service delivery crew reporting facilities, stations, car and right-of-way maintenance facilities, bus and subway control centers and our central operations training location;
- Subway and Bus maintenance teams are working on rotations with reporting times, reporting locations and break times staggered to promote social distancing;
- Personnel from critical subway and bus facilities redeployed throughout the system – including towers and control centers – to ensure only service-critical, essential personnel are in each facility;
- Subway control center operations split between main and backup control centers for operational continuity and social distancing;
- Employees in roles with high customer interaction reassigned to essential service roles – for example Wayfinders are now working in booths and Platform Controllers who are qualified for road service are working in revenue service as Conductors; and
- “Office trains” set up in select terminals, where employees can take breaks on out-of-service trains to alleviate crowding in traditional breakrooms. “Office buses” outside stations have been added where necessary.
The MTA has been a national leader among transportation agencies in taking aggressive action to battle the COVID-19 pandemic since the early days of its arrival in New York. The organization has distributed millions of pieces of personal protective equipment, including 2.9 million pairs of gloves and 1 million masks, since March 01, 2020. In order to protect employees, the MTA also disregarded federal guidance and began handing out masks to all employees before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later issued new guidance recommending all Americans wear masks.
The MTA continues its comprehensive disinfecting efforts systemwide with trains and buses being disinfected nightly, with the entire fleets for all agencies completed every 72 hours or less, since March 02, 2020. The MTA has also implemented rear-door boarding and eliminated cash transactions to prevent person-to-person contact to ensure the safety of operating employees.
The MTA has announced a new partnership with Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care to provide prioritized COVID-19 testing to symptomatic frontline MTA workers at its 52 urgent care facilities throughout the New York metropolitan region. The health and safety of the MTA’s employees and customers continues to be the agency’s top priority.