Unprecedented measure, the New York subway will close overnight

The New York subway, usually open 24 hours a day, will be stopped for a few hours every night to disinfect trains, an unprecedented measure intended to slow the pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday.

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All stations – more than 400 – will be closed from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. in the economic capital of the United States from May 6, the governor said during a press briefing.

“The entire public transport system will be cleaned entirely every 24 hours”, instead of every 72 hours currently, the governor said during a press briefing. “We need to disinfect the metro more than ever. ”

Emphasizing the “unprecedented” nature of the measure, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was participating by video at the Governor’s Point, stressed that the New York subway, dirty and dated compared to most European or Asian subways, would “ probably be cleaner than it has ever been ”.

The 24-hour operation of the New York subway, inaugurated in 1904, is a source of pride for the inhabitants of a city that is supposed to “never sleep”. Its stop, even only during the most deserted hours of the night, gives an idea of ​​the metamorphosis of the American economic capital at the time of the pandemic.

The partial closure of the system should also help fight against the resurgence of homeless people in the metro, underlined the two elected officials, who were moved by the recent dissemination by the media of images showing trains occupied by homeless people. shelter.

New York is the city in the world with the most cases of the disease, with nearly 160,000 people officially infected with COVID-19 and more than 17,000 confirmed or probable deaths from the coronavirus.

Since the confinement of the American metropolis began on March 19, ridership of the subway, usually used by some six million travelers per day, has fallen 92%, said Cuomo.

Many stations are deserted, with exceptions, however, in lower-income neighborhoods, especially Queens and the Bronx, where many “essential workers” reside – hospital workers, supermarket workers, delivery men, etc. – who continue to go to work.

Buses or VTC vehicles will be made available free of charge to essential workers who would need to travel during these hours, the governor said.

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