The MTA is warning passengers that it may shut-down subways and buses when Hurricane Sandy hits New York City next week. Bridges, tunnels and commuter railroads could also be affected.
The storm is predicted to strike the East Coast late Monday with sustained winds in the New York City area of 40 to 50 miles per hour and the possibility of gusts as strong as 70 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.
The MTA Hurricane Plan calls for service to be suspended in the case of sustained winds of 39 mph or higher. Officials said they would monitor the storm closely and provide “ample notice” on the MTA website before shutting down any lines.
“Our first priority is always safety, and the MTA is taking no chances with the safety of our customers, our employees and our equipment,” MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota said in a news release. “We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Whatever happens, we’ll be ready.”
The last time the MTA shut down service was during Tropical Storm Irene in August of 2011. What will be different this year is that “customer advocates,” a position created after Irene, will be at the city’s Incident Command Center, to advocate for the needs of transit riders.
Meanwhile, officials have canceled all weekend subway work, except for on the 7 and J lines, which will only take place on Saturday.