Citing customer and employee safety concerns the MTA will begin to shutter LIRR train, bus and subway services as of 7 p.m. Sunday night.
Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road will start their final trains by 7 p.m. Subway and railway stations will be closed after the last trains.
Customers who need to travel today should do so as soon as possible and not wait until the last train or bus is departing. Anyone who does not leave for their destination before 7 p.m. runs the risk of being stranded when service is suspended, according to a press release. New York City Transit, Metro-North and the LIRR will cross-honor each other’s passes today to speed the process of returning customers to their homes.
The MTA Hurricane Plan calls for suspending service hours before the approach of winds of 39 mph and higher. That gives MTA crews time to prepare rail cars, buses, tunnels, yards and buildings for the storm, then return to safety. Winds of 39 mph and higher are predicted to reach the metropolitan region during the predawn hours Monday.
“The MTA proved it can suspend service in an orderly manner when it did so last year for Tropical Storm Irene, and we have refined our Hurricane Plan since then to help us prepare for Hurricane Sandy,” MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota stated in a release. “This storm will batter the MTA, but the precautions we take now will allow us to recover much more quickly.”
The duration of the service suspension is unknown, and there is no timetable for restoration, MTA officials said. Service will be restored only when it is safe to do so, after careful inspections of all equipment and tracks. Even with minimal damage this is expected to be a lengthy process, according to the release.
Metro-North Railroad’s special “Train to the Game” for today’s Jets game in the Meadowlands has been cancelled. Customers who return promptly to Penn Station after the conclusion of the game will be accommodated on MTA services leaving by 7 p.m.
Outbound Access-A-Ride trips are being scheduled only until 12 p.m. today, and return trips will continue until 5 p.m. Any previously scheduled trips after that time, including subscription trips, are cancelled.
Customers and the media should monitor the mta.info website or call 511 for the most current service information.