Due to low ridership caused by the coronavirus crisis, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) started the implementation of the “NY Essential Service Plan.” This will reduce the schedule while ensuring service to and from work for essential personnel. This includes workers on the frontlines of this crisis, healthcare Workers, First Responders and others. The plan started on Wednesday, March 25 for trains and Thursday, March 26 for buses.
News comes just as the MTA announced it has hit all-time ridership lows during the pandemic, including a decrease as much as 90 percent across New York City Transit, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad.
New York State on PAUSE
According to the MTA, the schedule change follows the “New York State on PAUSE” order, which directed New Yorkers use of public transportation for only essential travel and limit potential exposure by spacing out at least six feet from other riders.
“The MTA is committed to getting the heroes who keep this city moving where they need to go,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye. “The dramatic decrease in ridership shows our customers are continuing to follow the advice of health professionals to keep themselves and others safe. But we’re here for the critical workers and first responders, and I also want to thank our transit workers who continue to show up and keep New York moving every single day."
Train and bus service
On subways, some lines won’t run Monday through Friday, including the B, W and Z lines, which will be covered by other local services. Also, some express services and branches on some lines will operate only local service. Although the MTA claims most customers won’t notice a difference to the change, they add, “To date, there has been an 87% decline in subway ridership vs. the comparable dates last year.
“Even with these changes, the New York City Transit team continues to undertake a line-by-line, hour-by-hour analysis of ridership," said the MTA. "So, we’re retaining flexibility to increase service as necessary.”
For buses, the MTA also aims to retain 75 percent of normal service, which allows the MTA to serve essential workers and lessen crowding on transit and in crew facilities. The maximum number of buses needed is substantially reduced, requiring fewer operators and lessening crowding of depot facilities.
“Buses have experienced a more than 60% drop in ridership vs. the comparable dates last year,” the MTA added.