Apr 30, 2020 - Health

NYC subway to end 24-hour service for first time for coronavirus disinfection

Woman wearing a face mask on the New York City subway
Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that the city's subway system will end 24-hour service to disinfect trains overnight amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: It's the first time since the subway began running in 1904 that continuous service will not be offered.

  • Bus service in the city will also stop for disinfection, which will occur from 1am to 5am.
  • Subway historian Andrew Sparberg told the New York Times in 2017 that "there has never been a systemwide, overnight shutdown" — and called the idea "unprecedented" — when authorities mulled cuts in order to perform maintenance.

The state of play: The city remains the country's coronavirus epicenter, and Cuomo said this week that subway ridership has cratered by 90%, according to the New York Post.

  • The subway's operator, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, has had 2,269 workers diagnosed with coronavirus and 59 have died, per NY1.

What they're saying: "I think what we’re doing here in partnership is exactly the right thing to say we’re going to find a way to make our subway system cleaner than it’s probably ever been in its history, honestly. ... [I]t took some disruption to say we’re going to do something during this pandemic we’ve never done before," de Blasio said.

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