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COVID-19: Ridership Down 98 Percent, More Schedule Changes Likely, Metro-North President Says

Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi
Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi Photo Credit: Metro-North

In a letter to Metro-North riders, the company's president, Catherine Rinaldi, says ridership is down 98 percent due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and that more schedule changes are likely.

As April starts, our region is entering the fourth month of the new reality of COVID-19. And it has been three weeks since Gov. Andrew Cuomo placed New York on “pause” to slow the spread of the virus and flatten the curve, Rinaldi wrote.

"What was before an unimaginable reality has changed how we work, how we play and how we look at one another," she said. "Most of us never pictured the day we would be donning a mask and surgical gloves to run simple errands."

Schools are closed across the state, so childcare and balancing work and home obligations have become a difficult challenge for parents.

For those of you who are staying at home and telecommuting, I thank you for doing your part to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, Rinaldi said.

"Our ridership has dropped precipitously over the past several weeks – by some estimates, it is down approximately 98 percent. Those who are still riding our trains – Metro-North employees and employees of the other MTA agencies, medical providers, police officers, firefighters, grocery store workers, pharmacists, and essential construction workers – all play a critical role during this unprecedented emergency," Rinaldi wrote. 

 Providing reliable transportation is something we take very seriously, and we are committed to keeping our customers and employees as safe as possible as they continue to ride our trains.

To help protect riders and employees, Rinaldi said the company is disinfecting stations twice a day and doing a complete cleaning of trains every 72 hours. 

" We are performing extraordinary cleaning and disinfection of our employee facilities. We, now, also allow our employees to wear masks and gloves if they choose to," she said.

In addition, Rinaldi said because ridership is down so significantly, and because COVID-19 has also had an impact upon the company's own workforce, they will likely make further adjustments to schedules over the next several weeks, while still maintaining social distancing on trains, and will keep customers informed if anything changes.

"We at Metro-North hope that you stay healthy and safe as our region works through this historic and difficult time. And let us hope, April showers will bring May flowers and a healthier situation for us all," she said.

Catherine Rinaldi, president of MTA Metro-North Railroad 

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