With ridership plummeting, as much of daily life has shut down in the city, the MTA said it is launching an "Essential Service Plan," a major cut in day-to-day service.
MTA Chairman Pat Foye said the new service plan is possible because service has dropped so low.
Subway ridership is now down 87% as of Monday. Only a week ago, it was down 52%.
"We did not think that at that point in time that it was responsible in terms of social distancing to make the MTA essential service changes that we're talking about today," Foye said.
The service cuts go into effect Wednesday.
For subway service, some lines - the B, W, and Z - will be suspended during the week.
Passengers on some express and branch lines will be riding on local lines.
Subway service will run 75% of normal, though morning and evening rush hour trips will be the same.
“Most customers won’t notice a difference,” said MTA Chief Operating Officer Mario Peloquin.
Bus ridership will also run at 75% of normal service starting Thursday.
The cut in service also reduces crowding in MTA crew facilities.
The MTA had been pulling back service, as workers called out sick or had been told to quarantine at home. More than 1,000 trips were cut since last Wednesday, NY1 reported.
Passengers have posted videos to social media of their crowded rides on subway and buses, though the NYC Transit chief told reporters there were no reports of overcrowded train trips.
For commuter rail lines, the Long Island Rail Road, starting March 26, will run on a reduced schedule at 65% of its regular daily service, with crews on standby for extra trips if needed.
On Metro-North, there will be hourly trips on Harlem, Hudson and New Haven lines, with extra service scheduled during the rush hours.