Last week, in forcing the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority to end overnight service, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio sent the wrong signal to a city that needs, slowly and uncertainly, to recover: lights out. President Trump must keep them on — not least because Manhattan real estate depends on it.
The MTA doesn’t need to shutter its 472-stop system for four hours — inconveniencing 11,000 critical private-economy workers — to aid homeless people or deep-clean trains. It has rules against sleeping on trains, and the NYPD can better enforce them than it can secure 472 empty stations from potential terror. As for cleaning: Most trains are out of service at night. The MTA could set an hourly schedule for that.
The ominous truth was buried in the MTA’s statement: It will bring back 24/7 service “when customer demand” returns.
This is backward. Ridership is low now — a quarter of the 41,312 people who generally use transit during these hours. (Although the fact that 11,000 still need this transit shows remarkable resilience, which we should be building, not cutting off.)
But riders won’t come back unless they know there’s a train.
Consider the signal the state and city are sending to New York’s theater, nightlife and restaurant industry with this move. If you try to open up soon, your workers and customers will have no cheap, safe way to get home.
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