NEW YORK—Today, the New York State Senate passed Senator Brad Hoylman’s legislation requiring the MTA to offer 24/7 subway service when a declared State of Emergency is not in effect; any changes to 24/7 subway service would require a vote of the MTA Board, which would allow New Yorkers to provide public comment. The bill awaits passage in the New York State Assembly, where it is sponsored by Assemblymember Robert Carroll.
On May 6, 2020, the New York City subway system shut down overnight for the first time in its 116-year history in an effort to keep riders safe from COVID-19.
Senator Hoylman said: “New Yorkers need 24/7 public transit. The subway is the circulatory system of our city—a public utility that keeps New Yorkers moving through all hours of the day and night. Nighttime closures of our subway system cannot become the new normal without oversight or accountability. Our legislation would require the subway to operate 24/7 by default, and make sure that if the MTA and NYCTA want to continue reduced service after the State of Emergency is over, they have to go through a public, transparent process. I appreciate my colleagues in the Senate who supported this bill, including our Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and look forward to working with Assemblymember Carroll to move this legislation across the finish line. If the MTA is going to cut, they can’t cut out the public.”
Senator Hoylman’s legislation, S.8328, creates a new requirement that the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) must require that the levels of service furnished upon the NYCTA’s rapid transit facilities in the city of New York shall provide continuous daily service for 24 hours a day when a State of Emergency is not in effect. Any decision by the MTA and NYCTA to reduce service after the State of Emergency ends would be required to be approved by a majority vote of both boards, which are legally required to involve a public comment period.
Riders Alliance Community Organizer Danna Dennis said: “"For New York to come back as a 24/7 city, Governor Cuomo must restore overnight subway service. Even at the height of the pandemic, thousands of New Yorkers depended on trains between 1 and 5 am. Entire industries from healthcare to nightlife rely on workers being able to travel back and forth between affordable neighborhoods and job centers. Thanks to Senator Hoylman and Assemblymember Carroll for championing overnight riders and helping to advance an equitable recovery."
Liam Blank, Policy & Communications Manager for Tri-State Transportation Campaign, said: “There cannot be a full pandemic recovery without the restoration of 24/7 subway service. As long as riders comply with mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines, the MTA can safely resume overnight subway service, bringing relief to many late night essential workers. We commend Senator Hoylman and Assembly Member Carroll for getting this bill passed as we continue fighting COVID-19 and simultaneously improve New York City’s public transit system.”