New York City

NYC Council Members Call on Gov. Cuomo to Close MTA Subways, Buses

A handful of New York City officials want to close subways and buses for a week to deep clean the transport vehicles

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What to Know

  • Four city council members have asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo to temporarily close MTA subways and buses
  • They propose offering essential workers ride via car services or ride-shares
  • Mayor de Blasio believes buses and subways are still the best method of transportation to get workers where they need to go

Nearly one month after officials were quick to disprove rumors of a subway shutdown, a handful of New York City officials are now asking Gov. Cuomo to temporarily shutdown subways and buses to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

MTA ridership is currently down by 90 percent, but that's not enough according to four New York City council members.

In a letter go Gov. Cuomo, they say the drastic measure is necessary to fight the spread of coronavirus and to protect transit workers. The ask: close transit down for at least one week to conduct necessary deep cleaning.

Councilmember Robert Holden from Queens says the move is a "no-brainer."

"Why leave the subways open when we have other modes of transportation," said Holden. "There are so many other ways essential workers can get to work other than the subways."

Mayor De Blasio address questions about the MTA during the Coronavirus Pandemic

The council members - which include Mark Gjonaj, Eric Ulrich and Peter Koo - say the city and state should instead provide essential workers rides using car services or ride-shares.

Shutting down mass transit would be "dangerous," the MTA says. The agency says public transit is vital for doctors, nurses, and other essential workers.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, when asked by reporters at his Sunday briefing, said does not see a way to guarantee essential workers can get to their place of work without buses and subways.

"We need tight social distancing standards. I think the MTA needs to do a better job of defining really clearly what is the maximum number of people that should be on a subway car and ensuring with the NYPD there is never more than that number on a subway car," de Blasio said.

The mayor says he believes buses and subways are still the best method of transportation to get workers where they need to go. "If they can't get to where we need them, that poses a threat to everyone," he said.

As of Monday, 59 MTA employees died from coronavirus-related complications and 2,269 tested positive for the virus.

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