New York cuts subway, bus, commuter rail service amid ridership drop, worker shortage

New York cuts subway, bus, commuter rail service amid ridership drop, worker shortage
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New York is cutting subway, bus and commuter rail service amid the coronavirus pandemic, as ridership has plummeted and some workers have tested positive. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will begin to cut services starting Wednesday as ridership has dropped 87 percent when compared to the same day last year, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported.

Sarah Feinberg, the MTA’s head of subway and bus systems, said Tuesday that staff shortages have caused 800 subway trains to be delayed and three lines to be suspended. Under the new plan the B, W and Z lines won’t operate on the weekdays, but the MTA will keep up the rush-hour frequency.

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There will be similar restrictions to the bus operations starting Wednesday, including reducing service by about 25 percent, according to the Times. The Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad commuter rails will decrease service by 35 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

New York has evolved into the epicenter of the U.S.’s coronavirus outbreak, with the state counting more than 26,000 cases and at least 200 deaths. But public transportation has served essential workers, whose jobs are considered important for the city and state to stay afloat.

MTA Chairman Patrick Foye said Tuesday that 52 workers have tested positive and said he is unsure how many people are self-quarantined. 

“Most people should stay off mass transit,” Foye said. “The step we are taking today is a tenet to advance the governor’s goals of flattening the curve of positive cases and slowing the spread of the virus.”

Some health experts have expressed concerns that less service will cause congestion in the transit systems at a time when people are told to stay six feet apart to avoid contraction. 

The MTA has predicted it will lose about $3.7 billion, not including $300 million for coronavirus-related expenses or the loss in local and state funding from taxes. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPublic awareness campaigns will protect the public during COVID-19 Republicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday MORE (D-N.Y.) said the new aid plan includes funding for transit systems, according to the Times, as Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C., have all reduced services.