Winter at the MTA

Here’s what to know about how we prepare for winter weather, including how snow storms might affect travel on subways, buses, LIRR, Metro-North, and bridges and tunnels. Keeping the public and our employees safe is our top goal.

Preparing to travel during extreme weather

How you can travel safely

  • Use handrails (and hand sanitizer) in stations and trains.
  • Be careful boarding and exiting trains. Don’t move between train cars.
  • Don’t run, especially on wet or icy surfaces.
  • Listen for station announcements and check digital signs in stations for updates.
  • Check the weather and transit service status before you travel. If the weather is severe enough, it might be safer to not travel at all if you can avoid it.

Get real-time information

We want you to know about service changes as far in advance as possible. Find the latest service status on our homepage or in the MYmta app. You can also follow us on Twitter at @mta, @NYCTSubway, @NYCTBus, @metronorth, and @lirr.

What subway service to expect based on weather

These are the best predictions we can make without knowing specific details about a storm. We always do our best to tell you about service changes as soon as we can.

  • Storm warning: Regular service.
  • 1-7 inches of snow: Regular service. You might see salt and sand on platforms.
  • 8-12 inches of snow: Reduced service, especially on express tracks.
  • 12+ inches of snow, or blizzard conditions: Significant service suspensions or a full system shutdown are likely. You should only travel if it’s essential.
  • Subzero temperatures, without precipitation: Regular or reduced service. Some express service might be suspended, depending on where we park trains to keep them out of the elements.
  • Ice, sleet, freezing rain: Regular or reduced service. Some express service might be suspended, depending on where we park trains to keep them out of the elements.

Other possible service changes due to weather

We work with city and state partners to monitor weather and keep our riders, employees, and equipment safe. Find the latest service information on our homepage or on the MYmta app.

These are examples of service changes you may see. Our plans change depending on specific weather conditions.

Subways

  • Express trains running local
  • Trains running only on the underground parts of a line or the entire system
  • No trains running on some lines
  • No trains running throughout the system

Buses

  • Route cancellations
  • Longer waits between buses
  • Buses might skip stops

LIRR and Metro-North

  • Reduced or suspended service on some routes
  • Reduced or suspended service throughout the system

Staten Island Railway

  • Trains running local
  • Delays in service while we clear snow and ice from the tracks
  • Might shut down service on the whole line

Access-A-Ride

  • Reduced or delayed service
  • Feeder service and conditional eligibility might not be enforced
  • Reservations accepted up to 24 hours in advance, instead of 48

Bridges and tunnels

  • Speed restrictions on roadways, ramps, and toll plazas
  • Reduced road capacity or closures
  • For bridges, speed restrictions or intermittent closures
Duration 03:16

How the subway prepares for winter weather

Extreme cold and winter storms means subway service may change.

How we prepare

We make a snow plan

For train yards

Our train yards are like parking lots for trains. They're very important to us keeping service running or restoring service after a shutdown. So we work hard to keep them free of snow and ice.

This is easier when trains aren’t in the yards. Sometimes we use express tracks to store trains when we need to clear the yards. This means express trains would run on the local track.

For stations and platforms

In stations, you’ll see us salting stairs and doing other things to help keep conditions safe for travel.

We use special equipment

Special vehicles like snowthrowers, de-icers, and jet-snowblowers help us keep tracks clear of ice and snow. We spray a lot of our equipment with a de-icing agent.

On electric trains, we use special third rail shoes with holes in them to prevent snow from sticking.

We put snow chains on buses to help them navigate winter road conditions.

A person kneels to put snow chains on the rear tire of a bus. The words "New York City Bus" are visible on the side of the vehicle.
Snow chains help buses maneuver.
A closeup of a person holding a small rectangular metal plate with raised ridges on it.
Scraper shoes on trains remove ice from the third rail.