At a press conference late in the night, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced New Yorkers in the metropolitan area will have their public transit fares waved for the rest of the week. Of course, traveling into Lower Manhattan won’t be easy for Thursday, at least, where no subways are currently scheduled to travel.
“As a further encouragement to have people take mass transit, which is coming online piece by piece,” Mr. Cuomo began, citing the intensive traffic congestion problems plaguing Manhattan earlier today. “I am declaring a transportation emergency and authorizing the MTA to waive fares…through the end of the week, Thursday and Friday. So commuter rails, subways and buses.”
The governor acknowledged the ride, although free, might not necessarily be pleasant, given the demand.
“The service in many cases is limited; the service in many cases will be crowded because of the volume, which is an additional reason why we feel comfortable waiving the fare through Thursday and Friday,” he added. “We hope it encourages people to take mass transit.”
Providing more detail, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said subway service for many stations will return at 6 a.m. and commuters from Queens and the Bronx will be able to use it as far as the northern part of Midtown. Brooklynites will likely need the assistance of buses.
“There are three locations where they will stop,” he said. “One at the Barclay’s Center, where there are buses available to take the passengers directly into Midtown, Manhattan; one at Metrotech, at the Jay Street terminal, that will also take people into Midtown, Manhattan; and then in Williamsburg at the Hewes station. We are using 330 buses that will be used to shuttle the folks in Brooklyn back and forth, it’s a whole flotilla of buses that will be there.”
Additionally, Mr. Lhota repeatedly stressed the need for patience and tolerance as the city’s public transportation system comes back online.
“It’s my expectation that we’ll have more service on Friday, every day we’ll come back with more and more service, it’s what we want to do,” he continued. “I would like to ask all New Yorkers who are on the subway system, to ask for their understanding. The system is going to be a little bit different. The trains aren’t going to be as frequent, there will be crowding. So, if there’s any opportunity for you to leave early or leave later than your normal hours…just bear with us as we come back from what I’ve described as the most devastating event to ever happen to the MTA.”