The MTA has been directed by New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to begin an orderly shutdown and suspension of all subway, bus and commuter railroad service Sunday night.
“The decision was made to protect customers, employees and equipment from the wrath of Hurricane Sandy as the strong storm continues its march up the East Coast,” according to a release from the MTA.
MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota announced service on NYC Transit subways will be curtailed beginning at 7 p.m., and the bus network within the following two hours.
Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad will start their finals trains by 7 p.m. from terminal locations. Subway and rail road stations will be closed after the last trains pass through stations. Outbound Access-A-Ride trips are being scheduled only until 12 p.m. today, and return trips will continue until 5 p.m. Any previously scheduled trips after that time, including subscription trips, are canceled.
Commuters are advised to adjust their plans and travel early in the day as possible and not wait until the last train or bus. Anyone who does not leave for their destination before 7 p.m. runs the risk of being stranded when service is suspended.
The MTA Hurricane Plan calls for suspending service hours before the approach of winds of 39 mph and higher. That gives MTA crews time to prepare rail and subway cars, buses, tunnels, yards and buildings for the storm, then return to safety. Winds of 39 mph and higher are predicted to reach the metropolitan region during the predawn hours Monday.
The MTA has been preparing to suspend service for days by readying recovery equipment, clearing drainage areas, moving vehicles from low-lying areas at bus depots and rail yards and sealing some tunnel access points.
“The duration of the service suspension is unknown, and there is no timetable for restoration,” according to the MTA. “Service will be restored only when it is safe to do so, after careful inspections of all equipment and tracks. Even with minimal damage this is expected to be a lengthy process.”
Information will be available at mta.info or 511