Local buses are now boarding at the rear door in order to better protect bus drivers and keep the city moving.
The rear-door boarding is now in effect on 4,200 of 5,600 buses in the MTA’s fleet.
“The reason for that is to reduce contact between passengers and bus operators to make sure that as many transit workers, subway, bus, Metro-North, Long Island Rail Road, can show up for work and take first responders to and from their jobs,” MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye said.
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Thirty MTA employees have tested positive for COVID-19, Foye said.
“Transit workers, as they did after 9/11, as they did after Superstorm Sandy, and other acts of God, are showing up for work on subways, buses, Metro-North, Long Island Rail Road. We’re doing everything we can, based on advice of CDC, State Department of Health, the City Commissioner of Health, and our own medical doctors and public health professionals to minimize the risk to our workforce,” Foye said.
Monday morning, normal weekday service was running on subways and buses, except on the A subway train line, which is making all local stops.
With ridership in decline amid city and statewide “stay at home unless absolutely necessary” guidance, the MTA is looking at serious financial losses.
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“We planned for ridership declines, but never anything like this. And part of that planning as we drew on a $1 billion line of credit with the leading international bank that happened on Friday, we have liquidity, but obviously given the significant, precipitous, drop in ridership and therefore revenue, and a $4 billion dollar hole that no one anticipated, federal aid is required as an urgent matter and time is really of the essence,” Foye said.
Foye said the MTA will continue to operate as the pandemic progresses.
“We’ll be taking first responders to and from work, the people who move New York, care for New York, treat for New York, and frankly run New York, and that includes transit workers,” Foye said. “That’s an incredible responsibility that we have, we take it seriously and the MTA system, subways, buses, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North, will operate during this entire situation.”
Foye said workers have “substantially” increased “the frequency and intensity of disinfecting.”