Sarah Feinberg talks MTA chairperson nomination, staff shortages, masks on transit

Local News

NEW YORK — New York City has the largest transit system across the country. Soon, the MTA will have not one, but two new people running it.

One of those people is making history as the first woman to ever be nominated to serve as the MTA chairperson.

Sarah Feinberg, the current interim president of NYC Transit, spoke with PIX11 News about what her nomination and what the role would entail, what the MTA is doing to prepare for Tropical Storm Elsa, the current staff shortage and when she thinks masks won’t be needed on public transit. 

Tracking Tropical Storm Elsa

Is the MTA ready for the storm?

Feinberg said the MTA is taking all steps the agency would normally take to prepare for a big storm. They have been preparing for days and have been taking part in conference calls every 12 hours as they monitor the storm.

New MTA role 

Pat Foye currently serves as CEO and chairman of the MTA. Now, the roles will be split between two people. 

Feinberg said most companies split the role, it just so happened that the MTA combined the two roles into one person. 

Feinberg said as chairperson, she would be focused on the whole picture and making decisions for the larger picture of the system.

John “Janno” Lieber, who is nominated for the CEO position, would focus on day-to-day responsibilities and decisions. 

Overall their goal is to bring people back to the MTA. 

MTA staff shortage

The MTA is currently facing staff shortages, impacting some train and bus service.

Feinberg said the agency is hiring and bringing on people as fast as they can, but they’re doing it in a safe manner. 

The last thing they want to do is stop hiring, Feinberg said. 

The interim transit president acknowledged that people will quit or retire, so if they don’t hire people immediately, “you’re going to be digging out for a really long time.” 

Masks in the MTA

When will we be able to stop wearing masks on public transit?

Feinberg said people will need to continue to wear masks on subways and trains as it is a confined, closed environment.

“Enjoy your freedom outside. Enjoy your freedom in other places,” Feinberg said, “but keep them on in the subway and buses to protect everybody”

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