NYC Subway Hurricane Sandy, A warning sign about service changes due to Hurricane Sandy in Manhattan’s Seventh Avenue subway station. The city’s transit system will begin shutting down for the storm at 7 p.m. Sunday evening. In preparation for Hurricane Sandy’s arrival, Gov. Cuomo ordered the MTA to suspend service beginning 7 p.m. Sunday. Metro North and Long Island Rail Road service will also stop at that time. Service is expected to be suspended until Tuesday.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will close the nation’s largest transit system ahead of Hurricane Sandy, shutting down subway, commuter rail and bus service Sunday evening as the storm advances toward the New York City region.
The MTA will begin shutting down at 7 p.m. Sunday, with no transit service expected at least through the early hours of Tuesday, when the effects of the storm should be felt throughout New York City.
Final trains will depart at 7 p.m. and buses at 9 p.m. Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road trains will also make their final departures at 7 p.m., and will cross-honor tickets for each others’ passengers.
“We want people staying in their homes,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, in announcing the suspension.
It takes eight to 10 hours to fully shut down the New York subway system, which ordinarily operates 24 hours per day. The system will be fully closed by 3 a.m. Monday, the governor said.
Later Sunday afternoon, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey also announced it would fully close the PATH train in Manhattan and New Jersey at 12:01 a.m. Monday on account of the storm.
The shutdown appeared likely to last for days, officials said, and would depend on the extent of flooding and the length of time needed to restore power.
“It’s difficult to predict, but I do think Monday and Tuesday are going to be difficult days,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said. “Wednesday we should have service, but whether it’s a full complement of service, it’d be very difficult for me to say now. I don’t know when this event will end and when the power issues will be corrected.”
The agency has previously said it would impose speed restrictions on its bridges, and would shut them down entirely if winds reach 60 miles per hour.
The full shutdown by the MTA is the first since Hurricane Irene in 2011, and it presents a formidable challenge for the city’s commuters and workers. The MTA carries 8.5 million passengers during an average weekday on subways, buses and commuter trains that reach north of the city, east along Long Island and up into Connecticut as far as New Haven.
The shutdown is a matter of complexity and risk-management for the MTA. A key objective for the agency on Sunday: moving thousands of buses and subway cars out of low-lying parking lots and yards that could be hit by a storm surge, including the 148th Street Lenox Terminal yard in Harlem and the Coney Island yard in southern Brooklyn, the largest rapid-transit yard in the U.S.
On Sunday, MTA workers were moving trains from low-lying areas to safe underground storage spots, including express tracks on the more than 700-mile subway system. Workers also secured vulnerable electronic equipment that could be susceptible to the corrosive saltwater of a storm surge.