With the outdoor dining curfew in NYC officially ending for good today, May 17, it was only a matter of time until the subways were fully functioning again.
Last May, the subways shut down overnight (from 1-5 a.m.) for the first time in New York City history in order to properly clean and sanitize them every single day to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. As more and more reopening news had been announced throughout April, nothing was said about subway service.
Then, Governor Cuomo announced in a press conference at the beginning of this month that 24-hour subway service would return on the same day the curfew ends: today, Monday, May 17. Though they opened up more in February, it was still closed between the hours of 2 and 4 a.m. every night.
Cuomo said that the subway trains are the cleanest they’ve ever been, and many people have reported seeing less unhoused people, as they are no longer able to sleep on the trains overnight and city outreach services must help them find shelter.
“I told the MTA: yes to 24-hour service, but the trains must remain clean and we have to help the homeless… We can’t go backwards on quality of service,” he said at the press conference.
Today (May 17), the MTA shared that the service officially resumed at 2 a.m. last night. They said that it also marks a steady increase in ridership, which dropped by more than 90% when the pandemic hit its peak in April 2020. On Friday, March 12 subway ridership hit the 1.9 million mark for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, then on April 9, the subway surpassed the 2 million mark, and on Monday, May 10 it surpassed 2.2 million riders, a new single-day record.
They ensured that the cleaning regime would indeed continue full-throttle, with stations disinfected at least twice daily and rolling stock (trains/buses) at least once daily.
featured image source: MTA