“MTA resuming ‘full service’ next week — but wants help from 3K city ‘volunteers’”
June 2, 2020 | 4:12pm | Updated June 2, 2020 | 5:33pm
Subways and buses are set to return to full service when New York City begins re-opening Monday, according to the MTA — but the agency is demanding the city provide 3,000 “volunteers” to help hand out masks and hand sanitizer.
“Reopening our transit system and safely welcoming additional essential customers during Phase 1 requires a massive, coordinated approach,” MTA Chairman Pat Foye and Interim Transit President Sarah Feinberg wrote in a letter Tuesday to the mayor and senior city leaders.
“Given our shared interest in distributing hand sanitizer to any customer who wants it, and a mask to any rider who needs it, we will need significant additional personnel,” the officials said.
“The vast majority of our workforce will of course be operating and maintaining the system itself. The MTA has requested the city provide 3,000 volunteers to support this customer facing effort.”
Trains will continue to go out of service from 1 to 5 a.m. for cleaning, as they have since early May.
In their letter, Foye and Feinberg also asked the city to match the state’s contribution of one million masks — to hand out to riders — and more NYPD cops in the subway “to ensure the safety and security of the system.”
The officials added that they “do not support the arrest of those who are not wearing masks, and we do not believe summons or tickets should be written.”
De Blasio last week called on the MTA to “limit the number of people that get into each subway car and each bus” to ensure safe social distance in transit.
But one senior transit official warned that the mayor’s desired level of social distancing wasn’t even possible when ridership was at its nadir of 10 percent pre-pandemic levels in April and May.
Beyond handing out masks and sanitizer, the MTA will continue to advise that only essential workers and people on essential trips should ride and will put down floor markings and decals “to assist with social distancing at stations,” the letter says.
The system has been running at reduced capacity since late March, as thousands of transit workers called out sick due to the coronavirus.
Sources said the agency has already begun increasing service to meet increasing demand — which is currently at 13 percent of pre-pandemic levels on the subway and 34 percent on buses.
A City Hall spokesman said the administration is “encouraged by the steps forward outlined in the letter and reviewing the specific requests they put forward.”
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