With ridership ‘significantly’ down amid coronavirus outbreak, MTA considering schedule changes

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NEW YORK — Ridership on MTA trains and buses, and traffic on MTA bridges and through MTA tunnels, has “declined significantly,” according to MTA CEO and Chairman Pat Foye.

Foye joined Kaity Tong and Kori Chambers live on the PIX11 News at 5 to discuss the impact the coronavirus outbreak is having on the MTA.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had previously considered public transit one of his pillars he wanted to keep in place as other parts of society are amended or closed.

Foye agreed, saying an investment in public transit at this time is an investment in infrastructure and the prosperity of the tri-state region.

Foye sent a letter to Congress asking for $4 billion in funding to help the MTA avoid financial crisis. He said on PIX11 the reason is two fold: with ridership down, revenue is down; and the increased need for disinfecting and cleaning comes with an added cost.

With that decline in ridership, Foye said schedule changes are not out of the question. He didn’t say if or when they’d be enacted, nor what schedules would look like — whether schedules would potentially mirror weekend or holiday service.

He did say if a change were to be made, there’d be an announcement.

In the interview, Foye called transit workers the “unsung heroes” during this time, noting that these employees go to work each day to make sure New Yorkers can get where they need to go — including first responders and medical professionals who rely on the transit system to get to their jobs.

The MTA said it will draw $1 billion in funding from its line of credit to pay for costs related to these events.

More than two weeks ago, the MTA created an enhanced disinfecting plan for trains, buses, vehicles and station surfaces.

Measures were increased last week and are on-going. Transit officials say they’re in constant contact with state health officials
for guidance about disinfecting, safety and operations.

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