Overnight subway service in New York City will run for an additional two hours starting next week, moving the transit system closer to a return to the 24-hour operations in place prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
Beginning Monday, Feb. 22, the previous nightly shutdown for four hours will be reduced by two hours. Instead, trains will stop running every night between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. to continue disinfecting work started in May of last year.
Since May 6, service had been suspended nightly between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. At the height of the city's pandemic in the spring, the transit system saw a 90 percent drop in ridership.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the news at a briefing Monday alongside Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO Patrick Foye and New York City Transit interim president Sarah Feinberg.
The transit leaders say the MTA is ready to ramp up service because of lower COVID positivity rates and the need to service late-night workers.
"With the deployment of the vaccine, a drop in the infection rate, the resumption of indoor dining, extended hours for bars and restaurants and the reopening of stadia and arena" gave the transit agency reason to adjust hours, Foye said.
The change in overnight service is part of a phased reopening of subway service, Foye said, although a date was not provided for a return to 24-hour operations.
Cleaning and disinfecting work will continue to take place overnight for all of the agency's trains, Feinberg explained.