As the subway trains pulled into the station, the announcement came over the loudspeaker — this was the last stop.
Waiting in the midnight hours Thursday on the platform at the 207th Street station, the A line's terminus at the northern edge of Manhattan, dozens of police officers got to work, rousing sleeping riders awake with a flashlight beam, a vocal prompt or a gentle shake of the knee.
They were joined by homeless outreach program workers, offering services and shelter for the night to any who required it.
The efforts to clear New York City's subway trains has taken on a specific urgency as a result of the coronavirus. The system has always been a haven for the city's homeless, a situation that's only become more clear to observers during the crisis.
Officials said Thursday that subway service will shut down each day from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. to increase cleaning of trains and stations
At the 207th Street station, the dozing riders, often traveling with rolling suitcases and backpacks made their way out of the station, some with little fanfare but others more reluctantly.
One passenger from a previous train leapt in the direction of an oncoming train before being intercepted by a police officer standing near the platform’s edge, and was handcuffed before being taken away by medics, restrained to a wheelchair. Some riders attempted to sneak back into emptied cars before being turned away.
Associated Press writer Deepti Hajela contributed to this report.