New York City Transit and MTA Bus issue update on efforts to protect workforce

Posted: 22 April 2020 |

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has implemented a number of measures to protect its workforce, such as protective screens, employee testing and adapted working rotas.

New York City Transit and MTA Bus issue update on efforts to protect workforce

Credit: Andrew Cashin / MTA NYC Transit

New York City Transit (NYCT) and MTA Bus have issued an update on efforts to protect its workforce of 53,000 employees. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in a number of ways, including installing plexiglass barriers at 85 subway and bus locations, implementing a vinyl shield pilot programme to protect bus operators, staggering reporting locations and break times, and expanding the ‘Temperature Brigade’ – sites where employees are being tested.

“We continue to do everything possible to protect our employees,” said Sarah Feinberg, Interim President, New York City Transit. “Our heroic employees are literally helping to save lives by keeping service running during this incredibly difficult time. Nothing is more important than their health and safety, and that our of customers.”

“Every action taken by New York City Transit and MTA Bus is to protect our heroic employees and our customers,” said Craig Cipriano, Acting President, MTA Bus; Acting Senior Vice President, NYCT Department of Buses. “Safety remains our number one priority as we work to transport the essential personnel of this crisis: doctors, nurses, first responders, grocery, pharmacy and childcare workers.” 

The following actions have been taken:  

  • 123 plexiglass barriers installed across 54 subway work locations to promote safe work environments, and additional installations continue 
  • 93 plexiglass barriers installed at work locations at all 28 bus depots and three central maintenance facilities
  • Pilot programme underway to install vinyl shields on buses to further separate transit workforce/operators and customers
  • Temperature taking services introduced at more than 55 reporting locations systemwide, including 36 subway and 12 bus locations with additional facilities added each day. These locations include bus depots and shops, service delivery crew reporting facilities, stations, car and right-of-way maintenance facilities, bus and subway control centres and central operations training location
  • Subway and bus maintenance teams are working on rotations with reporting times, reporting locations and break times staggered to promote social distancing
  • Personnel from critical subway and bus facilities redeployed throughout the system – including towers and control centres – to ensure only service-critical, essential personnel are in each facility
  • Subway control centre operations split between main and backup control centres for operational continuity and social distancing
  • Employees in roles with high customer interaction reassigned to essential service roles – such as Wayfinders – are now working in booths and Platform Controllers who are qualified for road service are working in revenue service as conductors
  • ‘Office trains’ set up in select terminals, where employees can take breaks on out-of-service trains to alleviate crowding in traditional breakrooms. ‘Office buses’ outside stations have been added where necessary
  • Since 2 March, MTA has implemented rear-door boarding and eliminated cash transactions.