#Coronavirus: New York MTA Chairman and CEO Tests Positive

MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement from the agency,NJ Advance Media for NJ.com has reported.

 The head of the MTA has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the agency said in a statement .

“MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye learned today that he has tested positive for COVID-19. Pat is currently isolating at home, feeling good and maintaining his full schedule,” according to a statement from MTA Chief Communications Officer Abbey Collins.

Foye was last in the office on Wednesday, March 25, when the agency hosted its virtual Board Meeting, at which point he was asymptomatic and maintaining a safe social distance from other employees, according to the agency.

“All MTA staff have been observing recommended guidelines put in place by the New York State Department of Health, including social distancing,” Collins said.

The chairman worked remotely on Thursday, March 26 and Friday, March 27, in what the agency said was a previously scheduled arrangement.

“Pat’s top priority remains the health and safety of our customers and employees and ensuring New York’s healthcare workers, first responders and other essential personnel can get to and from work during this public health crisis,” said Collins.

MTA ESSENTIAL SERVICE PLAN

With ridership plummeting to historic lows and short staffing limiting the amount of service that can be provided, the MTA has enacted a reduced service plan to continue moving essential workers around the city.

On buses, the MTA is providing about 75% of typical daily bus service, with specific service tailored daily based on the available staffing due to various MTA employees either out sick or quarantined due to the coronavirus.

All local bus routes are running, though riders can expect longer headways between each trip. For express bus riders, the SIM4x and SIM8x have been suspended, with riders being accommodated by the standard SIM4 and SIM8 lines.

Due to the extended headways and daily changes to the schedule, riders are encouraged to use the myMTA app to receive real time bus arrival information to better plan their commute.

On the Staten Island Railway (SIR), trains will run every 20 minutes during peak hours and hourly during overnight service, making all local stops, to match the reduced service on the Staten Island Ferry.

The MTA will continue to coordinate the SIR schedule with any adjustments made to the Staten Island Ferry schedule by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Subways are operating at about 75% of their normal service levels, though morning and evening peak service has been maintained.

Some lines are no longer running Monday through Friday, such as the B, W and Z.

MTA LIMITS CASH TRANSACTIONS

On Tuesday, the MTA announced that all cash transactions, with the exception of reduced-fare purchases, will be conducted using MetroCard vending machines until further notice.

The move was made to protect transit workers from the coronavirus by reducing person-to-person contact at station service booths.

Reduced-fare purchases, available to senior citizens and ADA customers, are still permitted at the service booth under the new measure.

If a MetroCard vending machine is out of service or a customer needs change, station agents will conduct and complete the transaction, according to the MTA.

“New York City Transit’s top priority is the safety of our front-line employees and we are doing everything we can to protect their health as they continue to move this city forward during this crisis,” said Interim President of NYC Transit Sarah Feinberg. “Reducing cash transactions will help our station agents feel safe on the job and ensure we are taking all precautions against COVID-19 to protect our workforce.”

BUS BOARDING CHANGES

On Monday, riders of New York City’s local buses – about 4,200 of the MTA’s 5,600-bus fleet – began boarding via rear-door only. “Select Bus Service” routes are also loading via the rear door. Rear-boarding riders are not being charged a fare.

Foye said the decision was made to minimize the risk to all transit workers, subways, buses, Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road.

SANITIZATION EFFORTS

The MTA’s mass transit divisions — New York City Transit, MTA Bus, Access-A-Ride, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North — have doubled the frequency of their sanitizing efforts, using products approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Frequently touched station surfaces like turnstiles, handrails and MetroCard vending machines are being disinfected twice a day, as opposed to the originally announced once-daily cleanings. The agency’s full fleet of trains, cars and buses are undergoing full sanitization every 72 hours or more frequently.

This includes 472 stations throughout the subway system, 21 stations along Staten Island Railway, 124 stations and terminals along Long Island Rail Road and 101 stations throughout Metro-North’s New York territory, as well as 6,714 New York City Transit subway cars, 64 Staten Island Railway cars, 1,100 Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North’s cars, 5,700 buses and 1,341 dedicated Access-A-Ride vans.

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