The MTA is scaling back on some of its services, including trips on the Metro-North New Haven line, due to a decrease in ridership and fewer train crews being available during the coronavirus outbreak, agency officials said Tuesday.
Despite the strains on the system, the MTA will be offering what it's calling an essential service plan to ensure essential workers, such as those in healthcare and first responders, can still get to work during the outbreak.
Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said Tuesday that ridership has sunk to never-before-seen lows. Metro-North use is down as much as 94%.
According to Chief Operating Officer Mario Peloquin, starting on March 27, Metro-North 's New Haven line will be operating hourly trains, with more frequent trips during peak hours so essential employees can get to work. Service will be reduced on weekends.
The MTA has closed all Metro-North and LIRR ticket counters. Riders can purchase their fare at ticket vending machines or the MTA eTix app.
There are also significant reductions and changes to the MTA's subway and bus services. For full details, click here.
The agency has already stepped up cleaning and sanitizing efforts across the system. They also have medical personnel working at key centers to screen staff to ensure workers are not showing symptoms, to keep operations running.
Officials stressed that anyone who can stay home, should stay home, and those who cannot should practice social distancing as much as possible.
New York City has become an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. On Tuesday federal officials said that anyone who recently visited the city should self-quarantine for 14 days as a precaution.
New York state saw its case total hit 25,665 by Tuesday as the death toll climbed to 210. New York City has more than 14,900 cases alone, adding another 2,500 overnight as its death toll surged to at least 131. The five boroughs now account for 60 percent of the state's total and about 35 percent of all cases in America. The governor warns it is expected to get even worse.