Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will begin the orderly suspension of all subway, bus and commuter railroad service at 7 p.m. Sunday to protect customers, employees and equipment from the approach of Hurricane Sandy.
The New York City subway system will begin to curtail service after 7 p.m., and the New York City bus system within the following two hours. Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road will start their final trains by 7 p.m. Subway and railway stations will be closed after the last trains.
Customers who need to travel today should do so as soon as possible and not wait until the last train or bus is departing. Anyone who does not leave for their destination before 7 p.m. runs the risk of being stranded when service is suspended. New York City Transit, Metro-North and the LIRR will cross-honor each others passes today to speed the process of returning customers to their homes.
The transportation system is the lifeblood of the New York City region, and suspending all service is not a step I take lightly, Governor Cuomo said. But keeping New Yorkers safe is the first priority, and the best way to do that is to make sure they are out of harms way before gale-force winds can start wreaking havoc on trains and buses.
The MTA Hurricane Plan calls for suspending service hours before the approach of winds of 39 mph and higher. That gives MTA crews time to prepare rail cars, buses, tunnels, yards and buildings for the storm, then return to safety. Winds of 39 mph and higher are predicted to reach the metropolitan region during the predawn hours Monday.
The MTA proved it can suspend service in an orderly manner when it did so last year for Tropical Storm Irene, and we have refined our Hurricane Plan since then to help us prepare for Hurricane Sandy, said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. This storm will batter the MTA, but the precautions we take now will allow us to recover much more quickly.
The MTA has for days prepared for the possibility that conditions would require a service suspension by readying recovery equipment, clearing drainage areas, moving vehicles from low-lying areas in bus and rail yards and sealing some tunnel access points.
The duration of the service suspension is unknown, and there is no timetable for restoration. Service will be restored only when it is safe to do so, after careful inspections of all equipment and tracks. Even with minimal damage this is expected to be a lengthy process.
Metro-North Railroads special Train to the Game for todays Jets game in the Meadowlands has been cancelled. Customers who return promptly to Penn Station after the conclusion of the game will be accommodated on MTA services leaving by 7 p.m.
Outbound Access-A-Ride trips are being scheduled only until 12 p.m. today, and return trips will continue until 5 p.m. Any previously scheduled trips after that time, including subscription trips, are cancelled.
The Staten Island Railway will attempt to continue to operate until the Staten Island Ferry suspends service, in order not to strand any customers in the ferry terminal. However, the railway will not operate if conditions are deemed unsafe.
Customers and the media should monitor the mta.info website or call 511 for the most current service information.