New York City is set to end its months-long shutdown - that dropped MTA ridership by 90 percent - and the transportation agency is ready to return its army of subways back to regular service, mostly.
MTA leadership released its 13-point plan Friday, outlining the steps the transit agency plans to implement as New York City enters Phase I of the state's reopening process on June 8. The plan is meant to guide the system through the return of regular weekday service routes on Monday and into the city's start of Phase IV, which is still to be determined.
The updated service schedule will not include the return of 24-hour service. The subways will continue to close down each night between 1 and 5 a.m.
Both subway and bus services will remain only for essential workers and essential trips during Phase I, the MTA said.
An estimated 400,000 people are expected to return to the workforce on Monday. Many of those employees will return to a transit system that's seen a 90 percent drop in ridership over the course of the pandemic, and faces questions on how to maintain social distancing.
The MTA installed new, no-touch payment scanners in half the subway stations to help prevent some contact, and is asking city hall for 60 miles of priority bus lanes in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
Increased service is already underway, said Sarah Feinberg, interim president of NYC Transit.
The agency said it projects a return to 70 percent of pre-pandemic ridership by Phase 4 of New York City's reopening, with bus ridership around 90 percent of normal operations.
The MTA's 13-point plan includes floor markings to encourage social distancing, hand sanitizer offered throughout stations, a new air filtering system on key lines, and a request to employers to stagger shifts. Agency leadership hopes returning riders will be able to stagger their commutes to minimize congestion on subway cars.
Masks remain the top deterrent of the virus. All MTA employees and riders are still required to wear a face covering.