The winter storm that hit New York City came in with a whimper, leading to questions about why Gov. Andrew Cuomo shut down the subway system overnight.
The subways were still running overnight because the city would have had to move all the cars to storage facilities and restarting the system from that is nightmarish. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority–which is controlled by New York state–was forced to move the cars during Hurricane Sandy due to flooding.
“I think it’s horrible, purely political decision, not based on anything that’s needed,” an MTA insider told the Brooklyn Paper on Monday. “It seemed like cutting out a necessary lifeline unnecessarily.” The publication also said some MTA employees were “blindsided” by the governor’s move.
On social media, some people reported hearing the trains go by after the 11 p.m. closing time. One Epoch Times reporter said they could hear the G Train in Brooklyn past the deadline.
The source told the Paper that it was unwise to shut down the subway system for a variety of reasons. “The underground lifeline should be open,” the source said, adding that much of the subway runs underground and wouldn’t be impacted by the snowstorm.
An MTA spokesperson told the Paper on Tuesday morning that “a handful” of trains were running in the subway system to prevent rust buildup on the rails. Some of those trains included scrapers and de-icing sprayers.
Some New Yorkers weren’t pleased with the development.
“I live in Manhattan and I am absolutely incensed by what has taken place here. Because of the hysteria and hyped by the media, our pathetic mayor jumped the gun and close the subways, which is never, ever happened here. They should’ve waited. Despite the fact that there is perhaps four inches of snow on the ground if that, nothing is open, because nobody could get to work. Just absolutely ridiculous,” Dan Nainan, a local comedian, told Epoch Times.
Cuomo gave a televised address, saying that closing down the trains was the “more prudent course of action in any event.” It’s hard to “determine what is underground and what is exposed to the elements,” he said, adding that the decision was made to “err on the side of caution” to put us “back online” more quickly.
Cuomo defended closing down the train. “I’d much rather be in a situation and say ‘we got lucky,'” he said.
He said the blizzard and reaction was “a very expensive exercise,” noting that the closures affected businesses and government services, while a large amount of state equipment was transported down to New York City.
By 11 p.m. on Monday, not only the subway was shut down, but also LIRR, Metro-North, PATH, New Jersey Transit, buses, and the governor banned driving.
As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, the subway system was up and running, according to the MTA. The trains will operate on Sunday schedule, with normal service returning on Wednesday.
Metro North, the Staten Island Railroad, and the Long Island Rail Road west of Babylon, Huntington, and Ronkonkoma resumed service at 12:00 p.m. on weekend schedule. Cuomo’s office said information regarding LIRR’s reopening will come at a later time.
The travel ban on state roads and local roads has been lifted. All MTA and Port Authority bridges have been opened.
Airplane travelers appeared to be the hardest hit during the snowstorm, with thousands of cancelations.