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How the MTA is gearing up for New York’s reopening

Cleaners at the 96th Street Q train stop. (Photo by Mark Hallum)

BY PATRICK J. FOYE

Next Monday, New York City will take its first steps to reopen after the State was put on pause in a necessary response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The MTA has been planning for this day. We will be ready to serve customers for the first phase of reopening, in addition to the first responders and essential workers who have been our core riders for the last 11 weeks. 

We are all taking steps to reimagine the way we work as part of a new normal. At the end of last week, I sent an open letter to business leaders across the city asking for their partnership in ensuring the success of mass transit by staggering business hours and days as we move into Phase One of Governor Cuomo’s New York Forward Plan. I know that business leaders have already been considering staggering work hours, allowing flexible start times, extending telecommuting plans, and expanding opportunities for employees to work from home. 

But just as we are asking for the business community to partner with us, we’ll also need each New Yorker to do her part. Most importantly, wearing a mask or face covering is mandatory while riding on our transit system, on the subway, bus or commuter rails. If you can, we encourage you to think about leaving for work later than usual, to help us spread out the rush hour and try to provide space for everyone. And if it’s a busier train, try moving to a different car by walking further down the platform or waiting for the next train.

Over the next few days, we will be releasing additional specifics about our reopening for all of the MTA’s services, a plan that was developed with public health experts and with the safety of our customers and employees as our guiding principle, first and foremost. Like Governor Cuomo, I plan to be there on day one to welcome you back myself. I’ll be riding the Long Island Rail Road and subway to work. 

I want to thank you all for your patience as our response to this unprecedented crisis has evolved – through the tough decision to close the subways overnight and our continuing efforts to disinfect the system as thoroughly as possible by piloting the most innovative and cutting-edge products on the market, including ultraviolet light and anti-microbials.

We are working hard to create a transit system that is better, safer and more modern, not only as New York reopens, but for the future of public transportation in our city. 

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