MTA Press Releases

Press Release
April 2, 2020
TRANSCRIPT: NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg Appears on NY1 with Lewis Dodley to Discuss MTA’s Ongoing Response to COVID-19

New York City Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg appeared on NY1 with Lewis Dodley to discuss the MTA’s ongoing response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

A transcript of the interview appears below.

Lewis Dodley: I’m joined now on the phone now by Interim President of New York City Transit, Sarah Feinberg. Thanks again for joining us.

Sarah Feinberg: Thank you, good to be with you.

Lewis Dodley: What is your plan of action for decreasing crowding in the Bronx and other hotspots affecting essential workers?

Sarah Feinberg: Well, I tell you what, we've been doing everything we can and we're trying new things all the time. So first of all, we're running as much train service as we possibly can right now. At the moment, we cannot run more, because we are short crews. So most of the 2 line crews have been quarantined, and we've had additional quarantines and folks out sick across the board. So for now, we really can't run more service. We are trying to remind people that there are buses available to them. I know in many cases, folks prefer the train but there are a lot of buses available and we're looking at sending some more as well. We've also got police on the platform just to keep people moving, trying to move them down to the end of the platform where there may be less crowded conditions. And of course, we’ve got conductors making announcements, and we’re making announcements at stations all the time reminding people, you know, look, if you've got another option today, please take that option. The train might not be your best bet at some points in the city today.

Lewis Dodley: Can you run trains on the more crowded lines and less on the ones that are less used?

Sarah Feinberg: We have tried to do that. The problem is you know, it depends on where your crews are and what they're qualified to do. So not every crew can operate on every single line. And we have really been hurt by some of these quarantines. So as you can imagine, when someone tests positive, we are going to send people home and make sure that we are protecting our workforce as much as we can. And when that happens, you know, depending on depending what position the person who tested positive was in, sometimes that means we are sending a lot of crews home, and they're on a 14 day quarantine. And of course, you know, our priority is to move New York as much as we possibly can and make sure those essential workers can get where they're going. But we can't do it when it comes at a cost of the health of our own workers.

Lewis Dodley: The Mayor tonight said people across the city should be wearing face coverings, TWU says it wants you guys to tell riders to wear masks or cover faces with bandanas, scarves. Will you encourage riders to do that?

Sarah Feinberg: We've actually already done that. So you know, this has been a tough one. I think we're not alone and being frustrated by the guidance that we've seen from the CDC. You know, the medical experts have been out there saying, you know, you really only need a mask if you're ill. And we just disagree with that. That just doesn't make sense to us. We think that it's at this point, really, anyone should be wearing a face covering. And so we've already said that we think that's the right thing for our riders to do and for everyone else as well.

Lewis Dodley: Circling back to the overcrowding, what do you think about allowing only essential workers to commute?

Sarah Feinberg: Well, that's what's supposed to be happening right now. So it's supposed to be essential workers and then folks who are on what I would refer to as a essential errands, right? We've got folks who are going to chemotherapy appointments. We've got folks who are picking up prescriptions, we have folks who are going to the grocery store, maybe not even for themselves, but for their elderly neighbors who are particularly vulnerable. So we want people to be able to do that. We want people to be able to run those really essential errands. But gosh, I could not be more clear if you are not an essential worker or if you are not running an essential errand, please stay home there is no reason for you to be out. And to be honest, you know if you are out and about and you are not either an essential worker or doing one of those essential errands, you are honestly putting yourself, your own family, our workforce and their families at risk and frankly the survival of some of our most vulnerable individuals in this community and this city depends on people staying home and I hope that people are listening to that.

Lewis Dodley: Alright, thanks Sarah.