NJ Transit

COVID Staffing Crush Forces NYC Subway Suspensions, NJ Transit Cancellations

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Multiple lines on NJ Transit had to cancel trains Tuesday evening, as the transit agency dealt with what it called "crew availability" difficulties, while New York City Transit said it had to suspend three lines for the same reason.

"Like everyone in New York, we've been affected by the COVID surge. We're running as much train service as we can with the operators we have available," the MTA said -- and suggested customers use an N train in Queens or an R train in Manhattan.

The W line was suspended all of Wednesday, which had an effect on riders, many of whom said that their commutes were impacted. Its suspension continued Thursday and the B and Z services were also cut. The MTA suggested straphangers use the Q trains in Brooklyn and D trains in Manhattan and the Bronx.

J trains are making local stops in Brooklyn and Queens to provide more local service, officials announced.

On NJT's Morris and Essex line, three trains from Hoboken, at 3:55 p.m., 5:02 p.m. and 8:44 p.m., were canceled as a result of crew availability, the agency said. The 5:56 p.m. train from Mount Olive and 5:15 p.m. train from Dover were also canceled. Two train leaving New York Penn Station, at 7:18 p.m. and 10:13 p.m., were canceled as well.

On the Main-Bergen County line, five trains throughout the evening from Hoboken were canceled, as well as two from Suffern and one from Port Jervis, as a result of staffing shortages.

Three trains on the Northeast Corridor line were canceled throughout the afternoon and evening, although the agency said that those cancellations were due to "equipment availability."

In the case of each cancellation, riders were told to take either later trains or use NJ Transit bus service to get to other stations.

"The recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the state, region and country has also impacted NJ TRANSIT, as we're seeing a similar increase in positive cases and quarantines among our workforce. We are continuing to operate our regular weekday and weekend schedules while working to minimize the impact to customers to the greatest extent possible," the agency said in a statement, adding that it was communicating actively with customers and continuing enhanced cleaning procedures.

The struggles with staffing extend well beyond the rails, as those looking to fly recently may have encountered some difficulties there as well. More than 100 flights were delayed Tuesday at JFK Airport, along with another 50 that were canceled altogether. LaGuardia had similar numbers of delays and cancellations.

Perhaps more alarming is the impact the latest COVID wave has had on first responders in NYC. While not all cases were COVID-related, 30 percent of EMS workers were out sick on Wednesday, triple the normal sick rate from before the pandemic. For the FDNY, 17 percent of firefighters were on medical leave. The FDNY EMS union president confirmed that 50 members had COVID, and countless others were still awaiting results.

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