The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is boosting service on the Long Island Rail Road and the Metro-North as two more New York regions are officially cleared to start reopening. The Hudson Vallery region and Long Island have met the state’s metrics to begin reopening phase one businesses, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week. Starting Wednesday, the MTA will increase capacity by 26 percent on Metro-North with 18 additional trains during peak service, as well as add 105 Long Island Railroad cars to meet restored demand for service.
“As the Hudson Valley reopens, Metro-North will continue to monitor conditions and adapt to best serve our essential customers,” Catherine Rinaldi, president of Metro-North Railroad, said. “Metro-North is undertaking the most aggressive disinfecting and cleaning program in MTA history and I want to remind customers face covering are mandatory for all those traveling with us.”
As part of the Essential Service Plan for the Metro-North, the MTA has been running hourly service on all three lines east of the Hudson River. On the Harlem Line, a train will be added from Southeast to Grand Central for the morning rush, two trains from North White Plains to Grand Central, and one reverse-peak train from Grand Central to North White Plains.
For the p.m. rush, a train will be added from Grand Central to Southeast, two trains from Grand Central to North White Plans, and a reverse peak train from North White Plains to Grand Central. Trains on the Hudson Line will be added from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central and one from Croton-Harmon to Grand Central during the morning rush. During the p.m. rush, Metro-North will run another train from Grand Central to New Haven and two from Grand Central to Stamford.
The LIRR will see an additional 105 cars, a capacity increase of 15 percent, for a total of 800 cars running daily. “From aggressively disinfecting trains to sanitizing high touch surfaces at stations more than twice daily, our workforce – the heroes moving heroes – has been providing service for essential employees every day throughout the pandemic,” LIRR President Phil Eng said in a press release. “We continue to monitor ridership and make adjustments as necessary.”
The MTA is still encouraging trips to be taken only by the state’s essential workers, including first responders, healthcare workers, transit workers, grocery store workers, and employees from businesses that are reopening as part of the state’s first phase. Phase one allows construction, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and select retail that can offer curbside pickup to reopen. Face coverings are required for both transit employees and commuters.
This month the agency rolled out a pilot program that involves using ultraviolet light to eliminate the coronavirus from the city subway and bus system. UVC light has been proven to remove viruses in places like hospital operating rooms, urgent care clinics, fire stations, and universities, according to the MTA. The machines emit flashes of light that hit surfaces of the subway with ultraviolet light.
The MTA also began overnight cleaning of every subway car and station, which requires a nightly shutdown of service between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.The sanitation program involves a daytime terminal car cleaning where crews remove any trash, clean spills and biohazards, and spot clean surfaces, like seats and floors. Trains both running at night (but with no passengers) and those at rail yards will also be disinfected nightly.
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