The MTA needs to adjust its service schedules to meet the demands of a rolling, “24/7 rush hour” that has become dominant in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, City Comptroller Scott Stringer said Sunday.
With many white collar workers continuing to work from home for some or most of the work week, ridership patterns have evened out by time and location, according to data crunched by Stringer’s office. That means a higher percentage of riders commuting on buses, on weekends and in the early hours than before the pandemic.
“Rush hour is not nine-to-five, Monday through Friday. Rush hour is 24-hours a day, seven days a week,” Stringer said during a press conference in Manhattan on Sunday.
“We need to prioritize where people are and where people are taking mass transit,” he said, pointing to data that shows service workers are more likely to live and work outside of Manhattan than white collar workers, 89 percent of whom work in Manhattan.
“New Yorkers working in these service, shift work, face-to-face industries generally do not abide by the standard 9am–5pm, Monday-to-Friday schedule and will often live and work in the non-Manhattan boroughs,” the report said.
To meet changing commuting patterns and attract more riders back to mass transit, Stringer called on the MTA to run trains and buses every six minutes from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays.
Weekend trains currently run as many as 12 minutes between one another.
An MTA spokesman responded that the transportation authority “has continued to run more than 90 percent of subway and bus service for roughly 55 percent of pre-pandemic customers.”
“We recognize the critical role the MTA plays in recovery of the region’s economy and have announced exploration of new fare options while continually providing better service with resources available,” said the spokesman, Aaron Donovan.
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