What to Know
- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority issued a letter to city officials outlining a series of key requests, including proposing businesses stagger work shifts, as NYC is expected to begin Phase 1 reopening next week
- New York City is expected to enter Phase 1 on Monday, June 8 — which is when the MTA is planning on having subways and buses returning to full schedules once again
- Among its requests, the MTA is asking for additional NYPD officers and masks to distribute to riders
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) issued a letter to city officials notifying them of when full service will return for subways and buses, while also outlining a series of key requests as New York City is expected to begin Phase 1 reopening next week
MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye and Interim President of New York City Transit Sarah Feinberg sent a joint letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan, and NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg “to lay out some important elements we believe are crucial to jointly deliver on as we enter Phase 1 of New York City’s anticipated reopening” June 8.
Notably, the transit agency said it that regular subway and bus schedules will return on the first day of Phase 1, which is currently set for Monday. However, both services will remain only for essential workers and essential trips during that time, the MTA said.
Foremost among the MTA’s requests is requesting city businesses to stagger work shifts. Also, the agency is asking to supply face masks to individuals who may not have them when entering the transportation system.
“We would like to be able to supply masks to the small group of individuals who may not have a mask or face covering as they enter the system. The state has committed to providing 1 million masks. In order to be able to undertake this important effort, we are also requesting the city contribute 1 million masks for distribution to customers,” the letter says.
The MTA added that it would like its police department and the NYPD and MTA PD to continue working collaboratively to ensure compliance with the requirement for customers to wear a mask or face covering. However, it does “not support the arrest of those who are not wearing masks, and we do not believe summonses or tickets should be written… As we enter Phase 1, we remain committed to fair enforcement across our system. We recognize that the NYPD faces significant challenges at this time, but we want to be clear that enforcement across the system will be of critical importance.”
Foye and Feinberg go on to say that due to the MTA’s interest of distributing hand sanitizer and masks to any rider who may need it, they “will need significant additional personnel.”
“The vast majority of our workforce will of course be operating and maintaining the system itself. The MTA has requested the city provide 3,000 volunteers to support this customer facing effort. New York City Transit currently plans to fully staff the system with these additional personnel from 5 a.m. until 8 p.m. during the first week of Phase 1, and during the morning and afternoon rush hours in the weeks following,” the letter reads.
The letter also reveals that social distancing remains a top priority of the MTA, and because of this, and the surge of riders as the city enters Phase 1 of its reopening, the transportation agency is requesting businesses to adopt staggered work shifts and to allow employees to work remotely. The MTA will also be taking the following actions:
- Applying floor markings and decals where possible to assist with social distancing at stations;
- Supplying hand sanitizer where possible to customers across our system; and
- Deploying platform controllers, MTA Police, and additional station personnel to monitor conditions and assist with crowding.
In the letter, Foye and Feinberg also mention the ongoing George Floyd protests in the city and request additional NYPD officers at subway stations.
“This has been a difficult time for the city of New York. Given the anguish and chaos the city has experienced over the last week, the MTA is requesting the city deploy additional NYPD immediately to the subway to ensure the safety and security of the system. We want to make sure our system is safer than ever for riders. To do this, we will need full cooperation and resources from the NYPD,” the letter reads.
“We all share a goal of safely reopening this city and ramping up service on our system. We will need all hands on deck to make this effort a success. Our partnership on the overnight closure has yielded positive results. We will need your help to ensure riders are social distancing as much as possible, deploying staff to platforms and reminding riders to move to less crowded portions of platforms and less crowded cars,” the letter concludes.
In response to the letter, City Hall Spokesman Mitch Schwartz said: “We're encouraged by these steps forward and we're reviewing the specific requests included in their letter.”