MTA New York City Transit officials said this afternoon that service would return—but only after the appropriate steps were taken to fully and safely restore service to 26 subway routes and 243 bus routes.
“Let me be clear about this,” NYC Transit President Lawrence Reuter told reporters, “We are on our way back, but we will not have full service immediately.” He said service restoration will take between 10 and 18 hours, though bus riders could see service even sooner. Even so, buses will be put through normal pre-trip safety inspections before returning to the streets.
Managers have been on board inpection trains that have run sporadically throughout the 60-hour strike, monitoring condition of rails, switches, signals and the power delivery system. But the process of bringing transit back to 7 million riders is a complicated one: first, employees need to report to worksites to get subway trains and buses back on the road and tracks. Then, a determination will be made as to what level of service can be provided without a full staff.
New York City Transit spokesperson Deidre Parker broke down the details of what needs to get done before transportation can be up and running regularly.
On the subway side, she said, waiting for people to report to work may be one of the longest processes—given the lack of ability for employees to ride their own trains to their posts. Then, she said, trains need to be moved from the yards to the tracks, then go through pre-service inspections.
On the station side, “we have to get station agents back, cleaners back, reopen the booths, restock them with funds and fares,” she said. “That, again, all depends on how quickly employees can come back.”
Additionally, buses need to be fueled, their fare boxes recalibrated. They, too, have a pre-route inspection check-list that must be completed.