Coronavirus: New York City ends 24-hour subway service to clean trains every night

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The MTA was previously cleaning train cars ever 72 hours

World | The Independent

New York City has announced it will suspend its 24-hour subway service every night for cleaning in a bid to better protect essential workers who use the trains to travel to and from work.

The agreement to shut down services from 1am to 5am each night came after a report in the New York Daily News citing acts of arson, inappropriate sexual behaviour, and human waste from riders who’ve used the subway as a temporary home.

After the report, Governor Andrew Cuomo told the Metropolitan Transit Association (MTA) to come up with a plan to better manage and disinfect trains. He also implored New York City to come up with a plan for how to help homeless people.

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Mr Cuomo announced the new cleaning initiative by the MTA during his daily press briefing on Wednesday and said the decision was in partnership with Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“This is going to be one of the most aggressive, creative, challenging undertakings, the MTA has done,” the governor said.

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Shutting down subways every night would start on 6 May, he added.

Essential workers who travel during those four hours, which is said to be when ridership is the lowest, would be offered free transit with buses, ride-sharing services, and “dollar” vans. Officials did not say how long this closure would last.

“We’re going to find a way to make our subway system cleaner than it has ever been in its history, probably,” Mr de Blasio said.

Coordination was needed by multiple city and state agencies to make this new cleaning plan possible, he added.

Initially, the MTA vowed to clean all of its train cars and buses every 72 hours during the coronavirus pandemic. But growing concerns from riders and employees has encouraged the system to update to every 24 hours.

Ridership has been down 92 per cent since the start of the coronavirus pandemic as people stay at home and others opt for other transit options when travelling. Mr Cuomo said despite the decrease, the crime rate has slightly increased on the subway.

Closing down the trains was not only aimed to provide a cleaner environment for employees and riders, but also to better protect the public.

  • Coronavirus: New York City ends 24-hour subway service to clean trains every night photo


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