In response to a “never-before-seen ridership low” during the coronavirus outbreak, three subway lines will not run during the week and some express trains will run local, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Tuesday. The reduced schedule is part of the agency’s “NY Essential Service Plan” to provide service to first responders and essential workers as it deals with the devastating financial consequences of a nearly 90 percent drop in ridership across subway and buses, the Long Island Railroad, and Metro-North.
Facing a 60 percent decline in subway ridership and a 90 percent decline on commuter rails, the already-cash-strapped MTA is seeking more than $4 billion in federal aid, according to a letter the agency sent yesterday to the New York Congressional Delegation. “Assuming ridership trends this week continue for six months,” they wrote, the anticipated revenue losses to the MTA are $3.7 billion, along with $300 million in annualized COVID-19 expenses.
Photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit, Flickr cc
After issuing their first response last Thursday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) issued an update today on the precautions the agency is taking in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), joining a coordinated effort by New York City and state to remain ahead of an epidemic whose impact could depend on how well communities and authorities respond to it. Now that there’s been a confirmed case in Manhattan, as well as one in Westchester, the agency has taken additional measures to inform and protect its employees–and the eight million people who ride its subways, commuter trains and buses daily. The MTA will make sure that none of its trains, cars, or buses go more than 72 hours without undergoing sanitization.
Images courtesy of MTA/Flickr
In an effort that has long been in the works, the MTA is making strides in the modernization of New York City’s antiquated subway system. Following the recent retirement of its Nixon-era R-42 trains on the J and Z lines, the agency announced today that it is in shopping mode for as many as 949 new subway cars with an open gangway configuration–shown in prototype renderings–for use on the Lexington Avenue line. The move comes as the agency prepares for a major resignaling project on the 4, 5, 6 lines and plans to retire its 30-year old R62 and R62A fleets.
Lexington Avenue, between 105th and 106th Streets, Manhattan, 1913. Photograph by Pierre P. Pullis, Lundin Collection, Courtesy of the New York Transit Museum
A new photo exhibit at the New York Transit Museum provides a unique look at the construction of the city’s subway system, as well as its enduring impact. Opening Thursday, Streetscapes & Subways: Photographs by Pierre P. and Granville W. Pullis shows what it was like before and after the subway system was constructed, as well as the architectural and cultural changes occurring simultaneously above ground.
The final run of the R42 trains on the A line near Hammels Wye in the Rockaways on February 12, 2020. Photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit
The NYC subway rolls a little further into the 21st century today: The MTA is finally retiring its Nixon-era R-42 trains. The silver half-century-old R-42s, first rolled out in 1969 (the same year “Sesame Street” debuted), will make their last run today along the A line before being permanently retired, having already been mostly replaced by the R-160 fleet (h/t NYPost). The new R-179s cars will eventually replace them (h/t Gothamist). The R-42 cars were scheduled to disappear in December, but the R-179s were pulled from the system due to problems with their door-locking mechanisms.
At the platform of the Times Square-Grand Central shuttle, a train track is hidden in plain sight. At both ends of the two-station line, tracks are numbered 1, 3 and 4, with no Track 2 to be found. As the New York Times explained, Track 2 once ran in its appropriate spot, between Tracks 1 and 3, but was taken out of operation nearly 100 years ago. After an attempt to expand the original 1904 line turned to major confusion for commuters, transit officials covered Track 2 with wooden flooring to make it easier for New Yorkers to walk to the new tracks.
Straphangers will soon be able to move freely between some subway cars. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Tuesday released photos of the city’s newest subway fleet which features an “open-gangway” design, or accordion-like walls located at the ends of cars. The R211 car design is meant to increase capacity by allowing for better movement and “customer flow.” Expected to be partially delivered later this year, the new subway cars are part of a nearly $4 billion contract awarded to Kawasaki Industries in 2018.
Renderings courtesy of Metropolitan Transportation Authority
The MTA has unveiled a new plan to integrate all the planned work along the 42nd Street corridor—at the Grand Central, Bryant Park, and Times Square stations—into one project. In doing so, the agency expects the newly bundled 42nd Street Connection project will both cut costs and speed up the schedule. The plan encompasses several rehabilitation projects along one of the city’s busiest transportation corridors, including the redesign and rebuild of the 42nd Street shuttle.
A R179 A train at Broad Channel; Photo by Mtattrain on Wikimedia
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority pulled nearly 300 new subway cars from service this week because of problems with the door’s locking mechanism, officials revealed Thursday. The entire fleet was decommissioned after two recent incidents were reported of doors opening while the trains were still moving. During a press conference on Thursday, Andy Byford, the president of NYC Transit, said the MTA plans to hold manufacturer Bombardier “fully accountable” and hire a third-party review to investigate the inspections before the cars are cleared to return to service.