Coronavirus News: Travel options for essential workers during overnight NYC subway shutdown

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- There is a concerted effort to make sure that essential workers can still get where they need to go during subway cleaning in the overnight hours.

The subway system started overnight shutdowns for cleaning in the early morning hours of Wednesday.

The MTA has added an additional 344 buses overnight.

They're also increasing the frequency along many of their routes.

They have local buses running every 20 minutes, which is the same frequency as overnight subway service.

Express buses running every 30 minutes.

In all, 61 routes are being enhanced during the shutdown:
--Brooklyn: 3 express and 17 local
--Bronx: 5 express and 10 local
--Manhattan: 10 local
--Queens: 3 express and 13 local
Local buses:
--13 routes with new overnight hours
--37 routes with added overnight service
--Every 20 minutes or better

Express buses:
--11 interborough routes
--Every 30 minutes or better

Bus routes will serve hospitals:
--M15: NYU Langone, Bellevue, NY Presbyterian
--Bx15: St. Barnabas
--B44: Kings County Hospital
--Q46: Long Island Jewish Medical Center

All buses, including express buses will be fare free during this time and the MTA will also cross-honor fares on LIRR and Metro-North within New York City.

Buses will be free between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

When it comes to routes near hospitals, some of those buses that typically run once a hour in the overnight hours are now running as frequently as every 25, even 15 minutes.

"It's inconvenient, that is why for essential workers and first responders moving around in the 1am to 5am period we put this extraordinary level of bus service on. We believe that the bus service will serve majority of our customers," MTA Chairman Pat Foye said.

Additionally, if the bus is more than an hour and 20 minutes or more than two transfers, essential workers can apply for the essential connector program that will direct those workers to limited on-demand for-hire vehicle rides.

The program provides one free trip per overnight period, and more information can be found at MTA.info/coronavirus/overnight.

The MTA does not know how many essential workers will require this door to door service.

"With the amount of bus service is being added, our goal is to be taking care of almost everyone that way," interim NYC Transit President Sarah Feinberg said.

The Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad will also begin disinfecting trains daily with service under the MTA Essential Service Plan.

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