All photos: Marc A. Hermann / MTA on Flickr
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Thursday unveiled the first batch of subway cars of a brand new fleet that will serve passengers starting next summer. With wider doors and better signage, the long-awaited R211 cars are designed to increase capacity and provide commuters a more modern experience. The test cars that arrived this week fall under a $1.4 billion order from Kawasaki Rail Car Inc., which includes 535 subway and Staten Island Railway R211 cars. A few of the cars will hit the rails in the coming weeks, but won’t serve passengers until next September.
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Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit on Flickr
Roughly a billion fewer passengers entered the New York City subway system in 2020 than in 2019, according to new data released this week by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The annual total ridership on the subway in 2019 was 1,697,787,002 passengers and 639,541,029 passengers in 2020. When the coronavirus pandemic hit last spring and Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all nonessential businesses to close, both city subway and bus ridership hit record lows. In April 2020, subway ridership hit just 8 percent of what it was in 2019.
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Photo: Patrick Carey/ MTA on Flickr
It’s music to our ears. Live music will return to subway platforms across the city next month as part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s “Music Under New York” program. The program, which typically includes thousands of live shows performed each year, will resume June 4, about 14 months after public performances were halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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NYC Transit employees remove overnight closure signs. Courtesy of MTA on Flickr
New York City’s subway system resumed 24-hour service on Monday for the first time in over a year. Last May, Gov. Andrew Cuomo closed the subway overnight as part of a disinfection plan created in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It was the first time the trains closed overnight since the subway first opened 116 years ago. The return of 24/7 service this week comes just two days before most capacity restrictions in New York are lifted and as rates of COVID have fallen across the state.
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Slide from Governor Cuomo’s 5.13.21 press conference
In a press conference today, Governor Cuomo announced that the plan to build four new Metro-North stations in underserved areas of the Bronx is officially moving forward after the state, federal government, and MTA all agreed to a $1.58 billion budget. Today, the state is reissuing the RFP for track upgrades and construction of stations at Hunts Point, Parkchester/Van Nest, Morris Park, and Co-op City. These trains will terminate at a reimagined Penn Station, reducing commute times for Bronx Residents by two-thirds.
Via Public Domain
Most state-mandated capacity restrictions in New York will be lifted on May 19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday. According to the governor, this means restaurants, stores, gyms, salons, amusement parks, and offices can reopen at 100 percent capacity for the first time in 14 months. The six-foot social distancing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will remain in effect at these places, which could still limit capacity depending on the space available. In anticipation of the reopening, on May 17, 24/7 subway service will resume.
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View from 33rd Street, a shared space for pedestrians
A dark and cramped Penn Station could soon be replaced with a light-filled transit hub with more space for commuters. Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled on Wednesday two possible options for the reconstruction of the Midtown train station as part of his broader Empire Station Complex project, which would unify an upgraded Penn Station and the new Moynihan Train Hall. The interconnected station would increase train capacity at the site, which is considered the busiest in the country. It could serve 830,000 daily passengers by 2038, up from 600,000 the station served each day before the pandemic.
Courtesy of the MTA
Coronavirus vaccination sites located across New York City have been added to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s digital subway map, helping straphangers find the easiest route to their appointments. The map, which launched last October and provides real-time service updates, now features a syringe icon that marks the location of vaccine hubs in every borough.
Rendering of new entrance on 8th Avenue to Penn Station via Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to build an interconnected public transportation hub and revitalize Penn Station took a major step forward this week. The Empire State Development’s Board of Directors on Thursday adopted the General Project Plan (GPP) and certified the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Empire Station Complex project, which would link an upgraded Penn Station, the newly opened Moynihan Train Hall, and a tentative new terminal one block south of Penn Station. The board also set a public hearing on the project for March 23, followed by a 30-day public comment period.
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Photo by Joey via Flickr cc
With New York City having fully vaccinated more than 450,000 people and a vaccine surge expected by April, it’s all too easy to start envisioning the good-old-days. But many aspects of city living may never quite be what they were. To account for that, the MTA has predicted a “new normal” ridership that will stabilize “in 2023 and 2024 between 80% and 92% of pre-pandemic levels,” according to a press release. And though the agency has staved off subway and bus service cuts through 2022, they warn that they may still eventually make cuts to adapt to reduced ridership.