We haven't been riding the subway anywhere near as often as usual lately -- it's been over a month for me -- but it's good to know it's there if we need it, running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, albeit with some reduced service. That's about to change, though: in an update on Thursday afternoon (4/30), Governor Andrew Cuomo said that NYC's subways will be shut down from 1 AM through 5 AM to allow for trains to be disinfected.
"This is as ambitious as anything we’ve ever undertaken," Cuomo said, as The New York Times reports.
Overnight service will halt beginning on Wednesday, May 6; no word yet on how long that's expected to last.
The subways are currently carrying less than 10% of their usual capacity, and Cuomo said an "essential connector" to get essential workers to their jobs would be provided by "shuttle buses, dollar vans, and for-hire vehicles," according to New York Times. "Any essential worker who shows up and gets on a train should know that that train was disinfected the night before," Cuomo said. "Letting them endanger their own life and endanger the lives of others is not helping anyone."
This move comes amid a worsening crisis of homelessness on the subways as the pandemic continues. Cuomo had called the situation "disgusting" on Tuesday, and on Wednesday The MTA introduced some new rules intended to combat the issue, including banning shopping carts, and not allowing people to stay in a station for over an hour. "The status quo has been completely unacceptable to us and it’s my job to ensure that everyone who rides our system feels safe when they’re riding with us, feels secure, and that our workforce feels safe and secure," NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg said in an update on Wednesday.