What to Know
- Regular subway riders have already noticed something recently about their commute: changes in train schedules.
- The problem appears to be that the MTA does not have enough healthy crews to operate their full fleet of trains.
- While currently dealing with staffing issues, MTA officials believe the staffing crisis may soon be over.
Regular subway riders have already noticed something recently about their commute: changes in train schedules.
“Lately, for like the last month and a half, delays. I sat at the station for like 30 minutes waiting for the N to leave," commuter David Segarra said.
The problem appears to be that the MTA does not have enough healthy crews to operate their full fleet of trains. Because of this, commuters were met with a modified schedule Monday.
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With the B train not running, commuters need the C or D instead; with the W not running, the N is running on the same route in Queens; and there is no Z train, prompting the J train to pick up the slack.
“Where we had redundant service we shut down some lines so we could make use of the train crews that we have," NYC Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano said.
Cipriano went on to say that the staff levels are in far better shape than the peak of the pandemic when the MTA cleaned trains overnight and completely stopped 24 hour service. Back then, thousands of workers were on sick leave. Currently, sources say it’s hundreds, but Cipriano wouldn't say exactly how many workers are out today.
Another concern is the reality that some riders are hesitant about wanting to ride packed trains and buses as the latest variant spreads with alarming speed.
“I am a little scared with omicron and people aren’t wearing their masks on the subway as much," commuter Ashton Waldron said.
However, the MTA insists that as of mid-December, 90% of riders were wearing masks. Although 10% of those were not wearing masks properly though.
While currently dealing with staffing issues, MTA officials believe the staffing crisis may soon be over.
“We are hopeful numbers are starting to stabilize but we do have plans in place if we do need to tweak the service," Cipriano said.
That tweak might mean a few extra minutes between trains, but the MTA is hoping it won’t be necessary.