MTA Slashes Service, NJ Transit Limits Ridership to Essential Personnel Only

As staff follow health officials' guidance to stop the spread of COVID-19, the MTA is functioning with less crews

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New York and New Jersey's mass transit systems are making scheduling changes amid staff shortages and sliding ridership amid the coronavirus outbreak.

NJ Transit is limiting ridership to essential personnel only, the transit authority announced Friday. The ridership restriction begins Monday, March 30, as well as a shift in bus service to an updated weekday schedule that accommodates essential riders "due to the decline in ridership related to "COVID-19."

The MTA is scaling back many of its services to account for having fewer train crews available during the outbreak, it said Tuesday, including a 25% cut to all subway service. The decision came after hundreds of delays were reported simply because of crew shortages: Dozens of MTA workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

Certain branches of lines were being suspended, and a number of express services were being put on hold. The changes trend the system towards a Saturday-type schedule. Further reductions in service could continue to come as ridership has dropped dramatically.

Other services would be suspended as well, such as: MetroCard transactions at vending machines only (reduced-fare transactions can still be done at booths), rear door boarding policy for city buses, and no more shared Access-A-Rides.

Meanwhile, NJ Transit was making some schedule changes commencing Wednesday, March 25, including putting the Newark Light Rail service on a Saturday schedule.

See the latest changes below and go to the MTA website or the NJ Transit website for latest scheduling updates.


(NOTE: Beginning Monday, March 30, the NYPD will spot check subway cars to make sure New Yorkers are following social distancing guidelines. You can call 311 to report overcrowded lines or cars.)


The MTA will not run B, W, or Z service on weekdays starting March 25. Alternatives: 

  • B: Use C, D, and Q service instead.
  • W: Use N and R service instead.
  • Z: Use J service instead.


  • There will be no express service on the 4, 5, and 6 lines in the Bronx.  
  • D trains will make local stops in the Bronx and will run express in Manhattan and Brooklyn. 
  • There is no 7 express service.
  • F trains will make all local stops in Manhattan and Brooklyn and will continue to run express in Queens. 
  • N Express in Manhattan – N trains will make all local stops in Manhattan and will continue to run express in Brooklyn. 
  • J trains will make all local stops. 
  • Staten Island Railway will make all local stops.


  • 5 service between Nereid Av and E 180 St in the Bronx. Use 2 service instead. 
  • 5 service between Bowling Green and Brooklyn College-Flatbush Av. Use 4 and 2 service instead. 
  • A service between Broad Channel and Rockaway Park. Use the S shuttle to connect with Far Rockaway A service. 
  • E service between Jamaica-179 St and Union Turnpike. Use F service instead. 


Beginning on March 26, MTA bus service in NYC will operate at 75% of usual service, due to the steep drop in ridership. The MTA announced that all local and Select Bus Service buses will be be implementing rear-door boarding only, in a effort for the drivers to practice social distancing. In a release, the MTA said "regular fare policy remains in effect wherever on-board payment boxes or SBS off-board ticket machines continue to be accessible."


Long Island Rail Road will operate at 65% of its normal daily service, starting on March 27. Morning and evening peak service will not change, however. All ticket counters for LIRR remain closed.

LIRR's West End Concourse at Penn Station will also be closed between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. until further notice to protect customers and employees.


Also starting March 27, Metro North began running only hourly trains on the Harlem, Hudson and New Haven lines, with more service during peak hours. There will also only be hourly service on weekends starting April 4, and shuttle service is suspended on the upper Harlem Line.

The MTA closed all Metro-North ticket counters. Riders can purchase their fare at ticket vending machines or the MTA eTix app.


Staten Island Railway will run every 20 minutes during peak hours, making all local stops, and will run hourly during overnight hours, in order to match the scaled back ferry service. 

Staten Island Ferry will further reduce service levels and transition to hourly service on Monday, March 30.



The Metropolitan Transportation says it has enhanced its daily cleaning procedures of all stations, train cars and buses in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. So far, one person in New York City has been confirmed with the virus but the woman has not taken used public transport since she got back from Iran, officials said. NBC New York's Anjali Hemphill reports.



  • Newark Light Rail will change to a Saturday Schedule
  • Riverline will be on a Sunday / Holiday Schedule
  • Hudson Bergen Light Rail will remain on its regular weekday schedule


  • NJ Transit rail service will continue to operate on a President’s Day Holiday Schedule with enhancements.
  • West-of-Hudson trains (which are run on a partnership between Metro-North and NJ Transit) will operate on a weekend schedule.


  • Buses will remain operating on weekdays to serve essential personnel, but will begin running on a modified schedule on March 30 to accommodate the decline in ridership. Rear door boarding has been implemented on all bus routes where available.
  • Bus service traveling to/from Newark Penn – the bus shelters along Raymond Blvd in Newark are closed due to safety issues. Customers can board outside the shelter area.
  • Most Northern/Central Port Authority commuter lines will operate modified levels of service Monday through Friday. Saturdays and Sundays will remain unchanged.
  • Most Northern/Central intrastate lines will operate modified levels of service Monday through Friday with a few exceptions. New weekday schedules will be made available. Saturdays and Sundays will remain unchanged.
  • Contract carrier service will operate a Saturday schedule system-wide.

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