Governor Cuomo and MTA Chairman Joe Lhota have announced that the MTA will begin to shut down the city’s transit network starting at 7 p.m. tonight. Bus service will halt at 9 p.m., and all commuter rail and subway service will be suspended as of 3 a.m. Monday morning ahead of what forecasters are predicting to be a very bad storm in the New York area, and there will be no transit service in the city for the Monday morning rush hour. “It is unsafe to operate trains in high winds,” the Governor said this morning.
“The transportation system is the lifeblood of the New York City region, and suspending all service is not a step I take lightly,” the Governor 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 harm’s way before gale-force winds can start wreaking havoc on trains and buses.”
Speaking to reporters this morning, Lhota said that he hopes the MTA can restore services 12 hours after the storm ends, but such timing depends upon power levels and any potential flooding. Lhota did not sound as though service would resume until Wednesday at best.
As for the specifics of the shutdown, here are the important parts: The subway system will begin to curtail service after 7 p.m. and buses will halt by 9 p.m. The final Metro-North and LIRR trains will leave at 7 p.m., and all subway and rail stations will be closed after the last trains depart. PATH trains will cease operating as of 12:01 a.m. on Monday morning. Flooding of tunnels has become a major concern with a very large storm surge predicted to hit the city.
On Staten Island, the SIR will likely run until the city stops ferry service. But, says the the Governor’s Office, “the railway will not operate if conditions are deemed unsafe.” Metro-North is not running the Train to the Game for today’s Jets game but believes it can accommodate all football fans who return “promptly” to Penn Station following the end of today’s game against the Dolphins.
Stay safe. By all indications, Sandy will be much, much worse than Irene.