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MTA Leaders Outline Post-Pandemic Plans

The top leadership of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority provided BCW members with an insightful overview of the MTA’s post-pandemic plans to restore regular service including adding 66 trains to Metro-North’s weekday schedule on March 27.

MTA chair and CEO Janno Lieber and Catherine Rinaldi, president of Metro-North Railroad and interim president of Long Island Rail Road, described their agency’s post-pandemic plans at the BCW’s Political Leadership Series program held on Monday. Besides adding 66 trains to the weekday schedule, the executives described how they are prioritizing increased ridership, enhanced rider safety, luring hybrid workers and replacing infrastructure essential to safely running trains into Grand Central Terminal.

Lieber said a priority is re-establishing a sense of personal safety in the transit network. “We’ve all seen the press coverage of some of the recent horrific attacks that took place in the mass transit system, on the subway in particular. We’re not going to tolerate violence or attacks on our workforce or our riders,” said Lieber. “We don’t want an environment of disorder.” The emphasis on rules means the MTA is asking police to crack down on smoking, shopping carts and other mass-transit prohibitions.

The addition of 66 trains to Metro-North’s three lines will allow for faster morning commutes and bring the railroad to 89% of its pre-pandemic service, although weekday ridership is still at about 50% of pre-pandemic levels. Weekend ridership is back at 100% of pre-pandemic levels. “We are seeing extremely strong ridership east of the Hudson over the past couple of weeks,” said Rinaldi.

BCW Executive Vice President John Ravitz, who moderated the webinar, said the MTA plays a critical role in helping to bring back economic development to Westchester County and that a strong transit system is a vital service that helps with staff recruitment and retains businesses in Westchester.

This program was sponsored by the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, Empire City Casino, Levitt Fuirst Associates and Thalle Industries. A recording of the webinar is posted on the BCW’s Facebook page.

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