Overnight subway service officially kicked in early Sunday morning at 4 a.m., meaning that the 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. closure of the subway system will be bypassed starting Monday morning for the first time since May 6, 2020.
With subways returning to 24/7 service, the MTA launched a new initiative called the #TakeTheTrain, #TakeTheBus campaign aimed at increasing ridership as the city recovers from the pandemic.
"The city's subways and buses along with our commuter rails are cleaner than ever before and prepared to welcome our riders back with safe, reliable service," MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said. "We are eager to see folks back in the system again."
The MTA saw a 90% decrease in ridership during the coronavirus pandemic, and had been stopping trains overnight for a deep cleaning.
More than two million people rode the subway in a single day last month -- that's still shy of the five million the system was carrying before the pandemic started. Masks are still required underground.
The question is, is all of this enough to lure people back to the subway, especially with concerns rising over violent subway attacks? Some aren't convinced.
"There are times when I'm the only one in the car and I must say, I feel very very uncomfortable," subway rider Jacqueline said.
Foye says the subways are safe, but it could be better.
"The subway is safe, but not as safe as it can and should be, and that's why we've renewed our request of the mayor and City Hall for additional resources," Foye said.
At least 600 to 800 more NYPD officers he says. But crime is not the only concern.
"If they are opening up 24 hours, how are they going to keep it clean and stop the spread because we took it this morning and there is no six feet apart," Queens resident Nishanee Hassan.
MTA officials say the cleaning will get done once the trains get to the last stop.
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Meanwhile, restaurants will be able to drop midnight curfews for outdoor dining starting Monday.
On Wednesday, restaurants will be able to increase capacity to 100%.
Then, in two weeks, the midnight curfews will go away for indoor dining.
The last 14 months have been very difficult for restaurants in the city, with the New York State Restaurant Association predicting that nearly half of the cities eateries wouldn't survive the pandemic.
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