Home Asides Cuomo: Subway, buses will shut down at 11 p.m.

Cuomo: Subway, buses will shut down at 11 p.m.

by Benjamin Kabak

(5:00 p.m.): As the snow continues to build and forecasts worsen, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that, for the first time in city history in a snow storm, the MTA will stop running subways and buses by 11 p.m. tonight. Following the evening rush, express trains will run local beginning between 7 and 8 p.m., and as the Governor has warned that travel is banned after 11, the subways will stop running. I’m generally sympathetic of the need to protect MTA employees, the rolling stock and New Yorkers, but this strikes me as a huge overreaction. It’s supposed to snow a lot with some areas not expected to receive over 30 inches, but trains can run underground while providing safer transit options for people who must travel.

It’s not yet clear when the transit will start up again, but the system is unlikely to run at full speed, if at all, on Wednesday. “Don’t count on the system tomorrow,” MTA CEO and Chairman Tom Prendergast said at a briefing this afternoon. More as details become available.

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NattyB January 26, 2015 - 5:15 pm

This is like when he mandated (illegally, mind you) that all Ebola nurses/doctors had to stay at EWR in an outdoor unheated tent.

There was BDB going on about how they have great facilities and assuring the public by dining at Meatball Shop and Brooklyn Bowl (places visited by the Ebola doc before he was admitted) and out comes Cuomo w/ Chris Christie big-footing on all that (until they had to recant because of criticism).

Too bad there’s no one to push back on Cuomo as he’s too busy demonstrating his strong leadership. So what happens if you live downtown and you’re on the UES tonight for work or what? You’re supposed to walk home? Even though the 4/5 should have no trouble running local underground in Manhattan..

adirondacker12800 January 26, 2015 - 5:35 pm

Behave like a grown up and cancel your plans because there’s gonna be hip deep snow?

Tower18 January 26, 2015 - 5:57 pm

Lots of people are “essential” workers. Hospitals, etc.

adirondacker12800 January 26, 2015 - 7:15 pm

Get your ass to work before the subway closes down.
Everybody I know in the city who is an essential worker has already discussed contingency plans with their managers. Just like all the people I know up here who discussed contingency plans with their managers. And the people I know who go out and repair telephone poles. They are on call. Some of them take the big truck home with them when the weather is going to be bad so it doesn’t get trapped at the truck yard. And they can work their way out from home to a working telephone and get directed to where they need to go.

Abba January 26, 2015 - 5:19 pm

I agree.No need to shut the whole system down.

Peter Laws January 26, 2015 - 5:40 pm

You mean … it won’t snow on the east side IRT? What about the Lex? Surely it will snow on it.

Alex January 26, 2015 - 5:33 pm

Is it just me, or has NYC started freaking out about snowstorms a lot more in recent years. I’ve lived here 12 years and I remember being so impressed by how resilient to snow the city was, largely due to the subways. But since the blizzard in 2011(I think?) when the city was caught off guard, their instinct is to overreact. But, as Ben notes, the subway shutdown in fact may reduce overall safety.

Bolwerk January 26, 2015 - 5:47 pm

I think 95% of the hysteria is mostly an amplification effect on social media. Even keeping major roadway arteries open with heavy snow is not that hard. The trains are under almost no threat at all. Might be a few cuts or at-grade segments are in the slightest danger.

Maybe there are enough newcomers in the city and the region who actually can be awed by blizzards? Sounds far-fetched!

But NattyB probably has the right of it: Cuomo is trying to look tough and decisive, and victims of his pointless decisions don’t matter to him. If you think they do, I have a bridge over the Tappan Zee to sell you. :-O

Alex January 26, 2015 - 6:29 pm

Can I use EPA funding to buy said bridge?

adirondacker12800 January 26, 2015 - 7:17 pm

Maybe it’s because Andy is old enough to remember the blizzards of the mid 90s. Maybe it’s because the retired people who were working with them in the mid 90s told them tales of the Blizzard of 1947.


Bolwerk January 26, 2015 - 7:25 pm

He remembers all the other blizzards NYC transit operated through?

adirondacker12800 January 26, 2015 - 8:07 pm

The last one that dropped 25 inches of snow on the city all at once was in 1947. The other one that was close was the one a few years ago when everybody bitched and whined and moaned that one train got caught for a few hours. I vaguely remember local service only on underground lines only, happening at least once in the 70s. Probably more because I was working for someone that had a deal with a midtown hotel that was going to be mostly empty if the airports closed to put us up so whether or not the subway was running in Manhattan or trains at all anywhere wasn’t much of a problem. We walked across the street to the hotel. I was all growd’ up by then and if there was snow in the forecast took three days worth of clothes with me to work. They had contingency plans for subway, LIRR and Metro North strikes too.
Their contingency plan now is to just let the offices in other time zones make a lot of overtime. and tell the people in New York to stay home. Use vacation, sick or personal time if you want to get paid or no pay if you don’t want to use time.

and unless you work answering 911 calls or supporting that – working in a hospital for instance – what is so important that you should risk you life and the lives of emergency responders if you get stuck?

Bolwerk January 26, 2015 - 8:48 pm

Without a subway, people are more likely to get stuck, not less.

adirondacker12800 January 26, 2015 - 9:51 pm

Not if they behave like responsible adults and go home

Berk32 January 26, 2015 - 10:08 pm

A lot of people are responsible adults with jobs that require them to be at their jobs at this hour.

adirondacker12800 January 26, 2015 - 11:08 pm

unless their job is somewhere in the chain of events that happen after a call to 911 they should be at home or their employer should be arranging to shelter them until they can get home. The people who are in the chain of events that happen after a 911 call have been executing their contingency plans since yesterday.
I’ve had employers who consider me and my co-workers essential. When there was a blizzard coming I got a call three hours before it hit or three hours before I left for work telling me to stay home or bring three days worth of clothes with me. They would take care of the hotel room and the meals.

Bolwerk January 26, 2015 - 11:25 pm

Never do you see liberal oppress-’em-for-their-own-good pronouncements like this backed by state protection from lost pay, management retribution, trouble with childcare arrangements, or whatever other problems they create.

Until they are, it’s really not for pig ignorant white men to decide who should be where and when. Especially so they can strut about how decisive they are in the hopes of notching some red state primary delegates.

adirondacker12800 January 26, 2015 - 11:57 pm

Call work and tell them you aren’t going to break the law to come into work and see what they say. When they say come in call the police, on a non emergency number and tell them your employer is insisting you come to work and ask how you should do that without breaking the law.

DavidDuck January 27, 2015 - 12:20 am

Hmm, does anyone think the “call the police if they order me to come to work” plan will work?

Bolwerk January 27, 2015 - 8:50 am

@Adirondack: you aren’t that stupid. Do you understand how people might have no choice but to stay where they are, but can still be harmed because the choice was taken away from them? That’s exactly what happened.

There was no point in making everyone immobile, and there wouldn’t have been a point of there were 5′ of snow on the ground.

Bolwerk January 26, 2015 - 5:35 pm

His pattern of hurting transit users is too strong to be a coincidence.

Or is it just: muscle cars don’t work well in the snow, why should subways?

JJJ January 26, 2015 - 5:43 pm

I can see this being true.

JJJ January 26, 2015 - 5:42 pm

A year or two ago, Boston did the same thing…but then the hospitals created a shitstorm that their employees couldnt get in to work. So subway service was extended a few more hours.

adirondacker12800 January 26, 2015 - 5:44 pm

while providing safer transit options for people who must travel.

when there is going to be 20 inches of snow in 20 hours or so the people who must travel are the people who respond to 911 calls or support that, like snowplow drivers who keep the main streets plowed so the fire truck or ambulance can get close to where you are.

Andrew January 27, 2015 - 7:27 pm

And wouldn’t it be nice if they could have ridden the subway to and from work, rather than risking their lives by driving?

Boarat of NYC January 26, 2015 - 5:58 pm

While most folks think that the only people working are 911 emergency response folks just remember the in the 2011 storm Bloomberg required all city workers to show up for work or have their pay docked. The same went for employees at the Met.

Larry Littlefield January 26, 2015 - 6:12 pm

They are also banning driving, so private vehicles don’t block emergency vehicles and plows.

I view this to be a sensible series of steps. The measure of it is if they can get things up and running for Wednesday AM.

Berk32 January 26, 2015 - 6:18 pm

Shutting down the entire subway system…
This is unbelievably stupid!

What? no locals? January 26, 2015 - 6:30 pm

I don’t see why the all-underground locals can’t still be operating at a reduced schedule overnight.

It won’t help anyone who still needs buses for their trip, but anyone needing a Queens Blvd local to/from downtown will be happier

Berk32 January 26, 2015 - 6:45 pm

Because Cuomo is an shortsighted idiot

Ike January 26, 2015 - 7:02 pm

This is cowardly. They should at least run the portions of the trains that are underground-only. Isn’t the entire R line underground? Are there any others? The 2 and 5 are entirely subterranean in Manhattan and Brooklyn, right? I don’t know all the ins and outs like the hardcore railfans though….

Joe January 26, 2015 - 7:12 pm

The only line (not shuttle) that is completely underground is the E.

Bolwerk January 26, 2015 - 7:13 pm

Think the E is entirely underground.

I don’t think els are affected much more than subways by the snow. Might be that drifting can fuck up at-grade segments and maybe open cuts have it worst of all.

Joe January 27, 2015 - 12:37 am

I think it’s more that outdoor switches freeze and jam with the snow.

capt subway January 26, 2015 - 7:07 pm

I don’t understand. I worked for the NYCTA for 37 years (1972-2009) and the system was never shut down for a blizzard. And let me add, we had several really bad ones. As a motorman, and later as an instructor, I worked right through any number of big snow storms.

And the system is about 60% underground. Service can’t be run on all the underground portions? Total BS and a total disgrace and a total insult to the 5,000,000+ daily riders who depend on the system. It only goes to show you what I’ve been saying here from time to time all along: Cuomo & Blah are totally clueless about transit matters and really don’t care a damn about transit riders anyhow. And their advisors on transit matters are, obviously, equally clueless.

I’d have thought Prendergast would have known better than to go along with a total shutdown. And once you’ve done a total shutdown it will just take you that much longer to get things back up & running.

Bolwerk January 26, 2015 - 7:15 pm

I think Prendergast was overruled by Cuomo.

Berk32 January 26, 2015 - 7:17 pm

It doesn’t seem like Prendergrast wanted this

Bob January 26, 2015 - 7:10 pm

if limited service begins at 8pm and suspension is at 11pm when does the last subway train depart? can I get from union square to queens at 10pm?

Berk32 January 26, 2015 - 8:10 pm

This is great…

The forecast for NYC is down to 8-12 inches now….

We’re shutting down the subways for this…

capt subway January 26, 2015 - 10:10 pm

It’s a total disgrace. And now, with a total shutdown, the system may not be up and running again until Wed.

ARR January 26, 2015 - 11:26 pm

“It is a total disgrace.”
Thank you. That is succinct.

NYC shut down the subway because of wind and snow outside.
That is pathetic.

Berk32 January 26, 2015 - 11:16 pm

No surprise.

The MTA had no clue the closure announcement was coming. They’re obviously still running trains, because that’s how you keep the tracks clear.


Michael January 26, 2015 - 11:46 pm

There is a very good strong argument for the development of online technologies that allow folks to work from home, or places other than the “traditional office” to carry on certain essential functions in a weather event like this one.

Even if there are underground lines like the C-train, R-train or the E-train (just for example) those lines get their trains from exterior train yards and supply areas. Thus a line like the R-train or E-train and even the C-train could be affected by the storm even though they “seem” as if they are all underground. None of the number lines (#1-#7) are completely underground, and plenty of the outdoor stations will be affected by this weather emergency.

Plus the stairways and platforms (even in underground) would have to be kept clear of snow, requiring transit workers having to travel or remain on duty in (during the middle of a blizzard) would other-wise be a safe place. In addition work trains and other equipment has to be moved about the transit system to deal with problems that might not be self-evident to those think that the subway is just “underground”.

In addition it is probably better to shut down the whole system in a weather event like this one, rather than to encourage the idea that some folks can get around while others can not. This cuts down on the folks that are on the roads, folks that could be hurt on slippery ice, and clogging the roads with non-emergency vehicles to would need to go to places to serve folks in need.

In addition what folks WANT to be stranded in a subway car for about 10-hours similar to what happened during a previous big storm, or floating about New York Bay on the Staten Island ferry during the nor’easter that occurred in the early 1990’s. It really was not that long ago that NYC was waylaid by Hurricane Sandy, with major sections of downtown Manhattan without power, subway stations flooded, and other issues.

Just a few thoughts.

Larry Greenfield January 27, 2015 - 10:26 am

The shutdown plan allows most of the subway fleet to be stored underground rather than in yards exposed to the elements. This approach makes post-storm recovery much faster but the downside is that service, even on lines underground, may be affected by the stored cars.

Chris January 27, 2015 - 2:49 pm

That’s not “the shutdown plan,” that’s standard operating procedure for the MTA during winter weather.

Andrew January 27, 2015 - 7:28 pm Reply

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