MTA scraps free cab offer for commuters impacted by subway closuresAugust 21, 2020
The cash-strapped MTA will no longer offer free taxi rides to commuters severely impacted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s nightly subway closures, transit officials said Friday.
The program, which serves around 1,500 people per night who face “excessively long trips” as a result of the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. nightly shutdowns, will cease operation at the end of August, Interim Transit President Sarah Feinberg said in a statement.
“At the height of the pandemic, it was critically important to ensure essential workers who were subway-dependent could get to overnight shifts reliably, and without spending considerably more time on their commute than they were used to,” Feinberg said.
“Given our significant financial challenges, we are unfortunately no longer able to provide this service to the limited number of people it was serving sporadically, and the even smaller population it was serving regularly.”
An estimated 11,000 commuters rode the subways between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. before Gov. Cuomo announced the nightly closures in an effort to deep-clean trains and clean them of homeless people.
As part of the rollout of the closures, commuters who proved their “essential worker” status could sign up to receive one free car ride per night, depending on the length of their trip.
The MTA — which faces a $10 billion shortfall as a result of the coronavirus crisis — forked over $6 million for the program, at an average cost of $49 per ride, officials said.
Feinberg said impacted commuters can instead opt for one of three new inter-borough bus routes — two connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn, and a third connecting Manhattan with the Bronx.
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