It was a shock to New Yorkers, officials announcing the historic end of 24-hour subway service because of the pandemic starting May 6.
"It was a decision that was not made without a lot of consideration and thought and anguish, frankly, because it is part of the fabric of life in New York," Pat Foye, chairman of the MTA, told NY1.
Now, the MTA just has to figure how to get the 11,000 straphangers who still have been riding the trains during the planned shutdown hours to their destinations.
The MTA says that starting at 1 a.m. every morning, NYPD and MTA police officers will make sure no one enters any subway station.
Riders on trains won’t be stranded when the clock strikes 1, those trains will continue to their destinations, and passengers will be able to get off at their normal stops.
Over the next several hours, trains will be repositioned around the system so no one has to wait long for one when stations reopen and service resumes at 5 a.m.
The shutdowns will cause the cancellation of at least 100 train trips most nights.
The nightly lull will give crews a chance to clean and disinfect trains; the MTA has been testing out UV and electrostatic sprayers and foggers.
The city will continue its new effort to get the homeless off trains and into shelters and services.
Buses will be the backbone of MTA service during the shutdowns. But how much and where buses will be most needed are details still being worked out.
The MTA says it will watch for pockets of riders who need service, and adjust. Additional express buses for people outside of Manhattan are likely.
“It would be good to know what routes are the most important, what are being most utilized and where people are exiting and perhaps the bus service could be geared towards those travelers," MTA board member Andrew Albert said.
As a backup, the MTA will pay for the cab rides of essential workers; similar to the way it pays drivers to transport riders who use its paratransit service, Access-A-Ride.
Transit advocates, like Albert, the MTA board member, initially worried could ultimately be the end of 24-7 subway service.
“I have since re-listened to the governor’s statement and spoke to the chairman, chairman Foye, and he assured me this is temporary. This is only as long as the pandemic exists," Albert said.
Enabling the MTA to once again fully serve the city that never sleeps.