De Blasio says subway will 'absolutely' return to 24/7 service when 'crisis is over'

1010 WINS Newsroom
May 06, 2020 - 9:13 am

    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that the subway will "absolutely" return to a 24/7 service after the pandemic has ended.

    The mayor said he and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have talked about the issue of bringing back the subway, which is currently closed from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. nightly for disinfecting.

    "He was clear, I was clear, we were totally unified that we will return to 24-hour service," de Blasio said. 

    "Obviously the state runs the MTA, but this was something for me that was a prerequisite for the city agreeing to this plan," the mayor said. "We wanted to know that when this crisis is over we would resume 24-hour service."

    De Blasio said the subway would return to normal when "the crisis is over." He said it could be a "matter of months" before "we can go back to the 24-hour service."

    MTA Chairman Pat Foye said Wednesday that the first night of daily subway closures for disinfection was “successful.”

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    “Last night at 1 a.m. was a successful closing of the subway system ... for the first time in 115 years of the subway system,” Foye told 1010 WINS.

    Foye said 700 cleaners disinfected nearly every subway car in service over the four-hour period between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Wednesday to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

    He said the cleaners were stationed at terminal stations and that the cars were cleared with the help of 1,000 NYPD officers and MTA police.

    “Every passenger was instructed to leave at 1 a.m.—the homeless and every other passenger was treated with respect,” Foye said. “The NYPD presence was significant. It was productive and it helped in a major way in the cleaning and disinfecting.”

    It’s been reported that about 2,000 homeless people are in the subway system every night. It’s unclear how many were removed Wednesday; the NYPD told 1010 WINS it was probably around 250.

    Foye said most of those traveling in the system were essential workers and that the number of buses was doubled to help handle them. He said there were 76 percent more bus trips during the four-hour period. About 250 for-hire vehicle trips were made for those who couldn’t take buses.

    As for when the nightly closures might end, Foye said that’s up to the governor.

    “I think we're going to have to take our direction, frankly, from the governor and public health officials in terms of what decisions, Gov. Cuomo makes on lifting New York Pause,” Foye said. “Obviously, we're all hoping and praying that the pandemic will subside sooner than later. But during the continuation of the pandemic, we'll be stopping service at 1:00 a.m., resuming it at 5:00 and cleaning and disinfecting every car.”

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