MTA Press Releases

Press Release
May 26, 2020
MTA Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad Announce Essential Service Plan Enhancements as Long Island and Hudson Valley Begin Phase 1 Reopening
Metro-North to Add 18 Peak Period Trains Effective May 27 – Increasing Capacity by 26%
LIRR Lengthening Trains Adding 105 Additional Cars, Increasing Car Capacity by 15% with Protect Trains Pre-Positioned in Strategic Locations
MTA Continues to Run Essential Service for Essential Customers Only; Face Coverings Required for all Customers and Employees

MTA Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi and MTA Long Island Rail Road President Phil Eng today announced details on service enhancements under the MTA Essential Service Plan associated with the Phase 1 reopening of the mid-Hudson Valley today, Tuesday, May 26, and Long Island on Wednesday, May 27.

While New York City remains on PAUSE, the Hudson Valley and Long Island Phase 1 reopenings include re-establishment of construction activity, manufacturing and wholesale supply chain, retail for curbside pickup and drop-off or in-store pickup, and agriculture, forestry and fishing. To meet the demands for an increase in regional economic activity, Metro-North and the LIRR will increase service within the railroads’ current Essential Service operations, while planning for further phased restorations.

The MTA continues to run service for essential customers and essential trips only. Face coverings are required for all customers and employees. Both railroads will continue to charge off-peak fares at all times. Essential customers means all of the essential workers who have been riding throughout the pandemic, including first responders, healthcare providers, transit workers, grocery store employees and pharmacists, as well as employees of businesses able to reopen in phase one of Governor Cuomo’s New York Forward plan, for whom it would not be possible to work from home.

Details on service enhancements for each railroad follow.

Metro-North Railroad

“As the Hudson Valley reopens, Metro-North will continue to monitor conditions and adapt to best serve our essential customers,” said Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi. “Metro-North is undertaking the most aggressive disinfecting and cleaning program in MTA history and I want to remind customers face covering are mandatory for all those traveling with us. I thank our heroic workforce for their unparalleled dedication and contributions throughout the pandemic.”

Metro-North’s current Essential Service Plan provides hourly service on all three lines east of the Hudson River. Effective Wednesday, May 27, Metro-North is adding 18 trains to the schedule in anticipation of increased demand.

On the Harlem Line, Metro-North is adding a train from Southeast to Grand Central in the morning rush, two trains from North White Plains to Grand Central and one reverse-peak train from Grand Central to North White Plains. In the PM rush, Metro-North is adding a train from Grand Central to Southeast, two trains from Grand Central to North White Plains and a reverse peak train from North White Plains to Grand Central.

On the Hudson Line, Metro-North is adding a train from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central during the morning rush and one from Croton-Harmon to Grand Central. In the PM rush, Metro-North is adding a train to Poughkeepsie and one to Croton-Harmon.

On the New Haven Line, Metro-North is adding a train from New Haven to Grand Central during the morning rush, and two from Stamford to Grand Central. In the PM rush, Metro-North is adding a train from Grand Central to New Haven and two from Grand Central to Stamford.

The expanded service represents an overall increase of 26% in peak train availability since Metro-North’s Essential Service Plan went into effect. Metro-North will also have 14 train sets strategically positioned at major facilities to operate additional service as necessary.

Long Island Rail Road

“From aggressively disinfecting trains to sanitizing high touch surfaces at stations more than twice daily, our workforce – the heroes moving heroes – has been providing service for essential employees every day throughout the pandemic,” said LIRR President Phil Eng. “We continue to monitor ridership and make adjustments as necessary. MTA Essential Service continues to be for essential customers at this time and everyone who travels with us is required to wear a face mask. We all need to do our part to keep each other healthy and safe.”

The Long Island Rail Road has been monitoring ridership and adjusting as necessary since the beginning of the pandemic. Early on during the first week of the Essential Service Plan, LIRR added 12 trains bringing the daily car usage to over 700 cars.

With the coming restart of Long Island Phase 1, LIRR has added 105 cars – increasing capacity 15% capacity – bringing the daily car total to over 800 cars. LIRR also has in place protect trains at 15 yards across the system totaling 120 cars or another 20% increase in capacity under the Essential Service Plan. Daily train car usage is anticipated to flex with ridership and protect trains are in effect all seven days of the week.

Unprecedented Cleaning Underway

Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road, like New York City Transit, have undertaken the most rigorous cleaning program in MTA history, with crews working in train yards 24 hours a day to ensure that every one of 1,400 cars in service is disinfected at least once a day. Special care is being paid to poles, seating, floor, ceiling, doors and walls. Similarly, stations are being disinfected at least twice daily, with a concentration on touch points.

The MTA is also evaluating innovative methods to eradicate COVID-19, including the application of three antimicrobial products and bathing subway car and bus interiors in ultraviolet (UV) light. If successful, the ultraviolet light pilot will expand to the two commuter railroads.