Of all 50 states, New York has suffered the most due to COVID-19. And of the entire state, New York City, a relatively small area densely packed with over 8.3 million residents, has had the most losses and deaths due to this insidious virus.
As social distancing becomes the “new normal,” officials in NYC are brainstorming ways to decrease crowds in areas that are historically very crowded. Case in point, the NYC subway system.
According to the most available figures, ridership of the NYC Subway is over 5.4 million passengers on an average weekday, and another 5.4+ million on each weekend. During rush hour and, for specific stations and subway lines, before/after special events (i.e. a concert or sports event at Madison Square Garden), stations and trains can be jam-packed. That’s a situation that can’t happen in the “new normal.” So the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is looking at several short- and long-term potential solutions.
For example, they’re currently testing social distancing markers, placed 6 feet apart, at a handful of NYC subway stations (they can currently be found at the Lexington Avenue/53rd St. station on the Queens-bound E/M platform, as well as the 51st St. station on the 6 line).
They’re also looking at increasing electronic surveillance systems in subway cars, subway stations and buses, in an effort to control the crowd. MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye told 1010 WINS radio: “We’ve got cameras on almost every station. They can be used to determine passengers on a platform, passengers on a mezzanine, and we will be looking at that. And we will be looking at ways to control the number of passengers. We’re looking at everything. Everything is on the table.”
Foye has also said that to also help reduce the density of crowds and help maintain safe distances, riders in the future might be asked to reserve their spot on a bus or train ahead of time.
“I think there ought to be consideration of reserving a space at least for some period of time on a subway or bus, using, for instance, the technology that we are all familiar with that Ticketmaster uses.” Foye said on the Wall Street Journal’s podcast earlier in May. But he also said that ““That is not something we’ve made a decision on; we’re not close to making a decision.”
Foye suggested that staggering work hours and work-from-home options could also help reduce ridership volume. He said he thinks teleworking and remote working will be a regular part of life in New York from here on in. “Frankly, many…are already contemplating that,” the MTA CEO said on 1010 WINS. “I don’t think we’re going to have, in the short term, the levels of passenger volumes that we had.”
Foye warned New York City commuters not to expect a return to their normal rush hour journeys anytime soon.
“We’re looking at what every other agency is doing and figuring out how we can adopt that and make it fit New York City.”
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands
Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and get emailed notifications of when we post. Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group – we have 13,000+ members and we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!
This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary