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MTA Prepares for Tuesday Storm

Snowy subway in Brooklyn
Snowy subway in Brooklyn

MTA New York City Transit, MTA Metro-North Railroad, MTA Long Island Rail Road, and MTA Bridges and Tunnels are preparing for the arrival of another winter storm that has the potential to blanket the metropolitan area with more snow.  Customers are urged to use caution while walking on outdoor platforms and stairs.

Subways

The Department of Subways has a yellow-hued fleet of snow and ice-busting equipment designed to keep outdoor tracks, switches and third rails clear of snow and ice.  Super-powered snow throwers, jet-powered snow-blowers, and de-icing cars – retired subway cars modified with tanks and other specialized equipment to spray de-icing fluid on the third rail  are ready for immediate deployment.  Based on the current forecast, workers may be held after their shifts and additional personnel may be brought in prior to the beginning of a storm.

Buses

The situation room will be activated tomorrow morning at 4:00am and the articulated fleet will be equipped with tire chains.

To make traveling easier for bus customers, the Department of Buses has its own fleet of snow fighting equipment, particularly the salt-spreading trucks equipped with plows assigned to each depot.  They work in cooperation with the Department of Sanitation to keep bus routes clear and passable.  In cases of severe weather and impassable roads, bus service will be suspended rather than risk having buses get stuck on the roads. 

Metro-North Railroad & Long Island Rail Road

Both MTA railroads intend to operate on normal weekday schedules, but customers are advised to monitor mta.info, sign up for email and text alerts at mymtaalerts.com, and check media reports before traveling in case there are any service disruptions.

Both railroads will take steps to ensure that switches – the interlocking tracks that allow rail traffic controllers to route trains from one track to another – are working throughout the storm. The railroads are activating switch heaters, lubricating the switches and treating them with anti-freeze agents. Rail Traffic Controllers will activate the switches to keep them from freezing shut. In addition, track workers will be positioned in critical locations to be able to respond if any difficulties do crop up at switches.

Paratransit

For our Access-A-Ride paratransit service, a dashboard storm monitoring system is in place to track immobilized vehicles and customers.  NYCT has also coordinated a procedure with New York City first responders and the Office of Emergency Management for rescuing customers on immobilized vehicles or those who develop medical needs during storms.  Also in place is a new paratransit-specific Storm Action Plan that includes processes for curtailing all non-medically essential service; this plan was tested earlier this year during storms in January and February.

Bridges and Tunnels

Bridges and Tunnels has 7,070 tons of roadway deicer on hand and 89 pieces of snow fighting equipment in service and available for storm fighting operations.  Appropriate levels of staffing will be in place to assist with mitigation of snow & ice build-up as well as to sustain the normal operation of all of our bridges and both tunnels.

Bridges also are equipped with embedded roadway sensors for temperature and above-ground atmospheric sensors that deliver real-time information on wind velocity, wind direction, humidity and precipitation via wireless communication. These sensors record data used to determine if speed restrictions are necessary.

Lastly, to enhance our communications with customers, MTA has taken steps to insure its communications systems function well during any type of emergency.    The current website design allows for the quick posting of service information and includes a special weather page that becomes the mta.info homepage during weather-related events affecting operations.  Customers are urged to monitor the www.mta.info regularly as well as television and radio for service updates.