NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio is demanding action from the MTA and greater enforcement of social distancing.
One woman posted video on social media documenting her commute, reports CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer.
It almost looks like business as usual as she walks on packed trains and platforms in her commute from the Bronx.
“We cannot be traveling on trains like this,” Twitter user Emy Ramirez says in the post.
Many of her fellow passengers were not wearing masks, instead sitting shoulder-to-shoulder and not able to stay safely apart.
Shut MTA down. MTA workers are dying short stay and major train delays leaving essentials passengers at higher risk to die. pic.twitter.com/5CAif2ebvG
— Emy Ramirez (@emyr307) April 8, 2020
Mayor de Blasio was asked about the coronavirus problem on WNYC radio by the director of a Brooklyn Medical Clinic whose staff and patients use the subway.
“This makes your mandate on social distancing impossible,” says the caller.
“It’s very painful to hear,” de Blasio said. “I’m very frustrated by this. I have all through the week heard these reports.”
The mayor called on the MTA, whose workforce has also been hard hit by COVID-19, to add more trains at peak times, and if that’s not possible, more buses.
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Kramer put these questions to MTA head Pat Foye who says he’s taken action based on social media complaints.
“We’ve added service on the 2 line in the Bronx and we’ve added 100 buses in the Bronx,” he said. “We are monitoring social media, the situation where there has been overcrowding has been expanded.”
What about adding more buses and subways in the other outer boroughs?
“We will where needed subject, Marcia, to the fact that we have a significant number of employees that tested positive for the virus,” said Foye.
Since the outbreak began, 50 transit workers have passed away, over 1,800 have tested COVID-19 positive, nearly 5,300 are quarantined.
Transit Workers International President John Samuelsen says that only half the workforce is on the job every day due to safety concerns.
“The union proposed rerouting buses from affluent areas in New York City, particularly Manhattan, and sending them in the working neighborhoods of the Bronx to reduce congestion,” said Samuelsen. “Hopefully it becomes a model.”
Both the union and the MTA are asking everyone who uses mass transit to wear masks.