Coronavirus News: MTA going virtual to conduct business across broad transit system

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Trains and buses continue to run in the city -- although many empty during the self-isolation order -- but the MTA is making even more changes to service and stopping plans to cut staff.

With only about 10 individuals attending the MTA's monthly meeting in-person and the remaining members on a teleconference call, business was conducted across the broad transit system.

"We also appreciate you joining us virtually, so we can heed public safety guidelines and maintain social distancing," MTA CEO and chairman Patrick Foye said.

The public even got a chance to voice their concerns on how the vast commuter system is working during this pandemic.

"I'm glad John Liu is making sure our voices are heard," one straphanger said.

Foye also said that despite financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 virus, no employees will be laid off because they are vitally needed.

"We have also initiated quick reaction teams that can be sent to a location in the system where multiple employees are displaying symptoms," Foye said.

NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg noted that there are 52 confirmed positives among workers but over 70,000 continue to come to work - some telecommuting.

"Our thoughts are with them," Feinberg said. "We wish them well and some of them are struggling with mild versions of this illness and some of them are extremely ill."

The bus system is also utilizing the rear door loading procedures for passengers to protect operators and riders.

Subway ridership is down roughly 87% and 60% on buses, and they are looking at new ways to run the system efficiently.

"It is to make sure the essential workers that need to be moved in a safe and efficient way while making sure that we are doing the right thing by our own workforce and sending home as many people as possible," Feinberg said.

Metro-North Railroad is also putting an amended Saturday schedule on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines beginning Friday with additional trains in the morning and afternoon peak periods.

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