MTA New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano appeared live on 1010 WINS with Brigitte Quinn to discuss service being delivered across the MTA transportation network.
A transcript of the interview appears below.
Brigitte Quinn: Let's go live on the 1010 WINS Newsline and joining us is MTA Interim President of New York City Transit Craig Cipriano. Craig, thank you for being with us and a Happy New Year to you. Are we up to speed here on our transit delays? We heard in one of our reports from Greg Rice, no express, some delays, no , [ ] and service. Is that the extent of it?
Craig Cipriano: We are dealing with some crew shortages based upon the same thing that many industries across the nation are dealing with. We're happy to say that all of our customers should experience service and get where they need to go. We've been able to maintain service at all 472 subway stations, all 16,000 bus stops and all of our commuter rail stations across the region.
Quinn: Craig, what are you expecting for the rest of the week because today's first day back and as with the schools, a lot of people are still either getting tested or waiting for test results to come in, so there is the possibility that more people will be out sick with COVID as the week progresses. What are you anticipating?
Cipriano: As we've been doing throughout this pandemic, we've been watching the numbers closely, both our ridership numbers and our crew availability. We do have some contingency plans to tweak service where we need it. What I'm happy to say is right now we continue to provide full service across the region. Some of the suspensions that you noticed are only because we have redundancy across those lines so we're able to service all of our stations and get our customers where they need to go.
Quinn: Okay, and as far as the MTA workers are concerned, we have the number that 1,000 were out, is that still the correct number?
Cipriano: That number has fluctuated, quite frankly, for the past two years as we've been watching it. Employees call in sick, employees come back. We watch it day in and day out so we can provide the level of service that our customers expect.
Quinn: Okay, and the MTA COVID hotline at one point there was a longer wait. We heard as of yesterday maybe a five-minute wait if you are an MTA worker, and you want to report COVID symptoms. How is the MTA COVID hotline doing today?
Cipriano: Latest reports are that there is about a five-minute wait. We have some additional call takers and that has seemed to alleviate what have been some longer wait times early on in this latest surge.
Quinn: Okay. On to another topic, Mayor Adams, making news today talking about subway safety and saying that he wants to see cops riding the trains. Where are you with that? Are more police officers going to be added to trains imminently in this new year?
Cipriano: We've been saying for quite some time now we need more police presence in and around our subway platforms and on our cars. We're really excited to work with Mayor Adams because he's saying just what we've been saying for quite some time. We are also eager to work with the situation of homelessness in and around our system. The subway system is no place for a homeless person, those that are mentally challenged, so we are eager to work with our city partners to address those issues.
Quinn: All right, we thank you so much. The MTA’s Craig Cipriano. MTA Interim President of New York City Transit. Craig, thank you.