For the first time since it launched in 1904, New York City's subway system won't run around the clock. The trains, as well as the city's bus system, will stop from 1am to 5am for disinfecting every day during the pandemic. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the decision Thursday, Axios reports. Until now, the cars were cleaned every 72 hours. "We’re going to find a way to make our subway system cleaner than it’s probably ever been in its history," de Blasio said. Cuomo said the plan is "as ambitious as anything we've ever undertaken." The cleaning will begin Wednesday.
The governor called the overnight period "the slow hours," but even then, the subway system moves 10,000 passengers, per NBC News. Overall, though, ridership has dropped 92% since the city's stay-at-home order took effect. Officials have been concerned about an increasing homeless population on the trains, as well as unsanitary conditions. "You now have more homeless people on fewer trains, and you have fewer people to conduct outreach for the homeless people," Cuomo said. Essential workers will take vans, buses, and other vehicles while the subway is shut down. "People who need transportation between 1am and 5am will have it," the governor said. (The city's mask rule applies to subway passengers.)