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As coronavirus cases climb in New York, city wants to ‘reduce overcrowding’ on transit

March 10, 2020


As the number of cases of COVID-19 climbs in New York state—as of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s last briefing on Sunday more than 100 people had tested positive for the new coronavirus, 16 of whom are located located in New York City—city officials have released new guidelines aimed at stopping the disease’s spread. Some of these are common-sense measures that have been more broadly recommended—wash your hands constantly, don’t touch your face with unwashed hands, stay home if you don’t feel well—while others are specific to New Yorkers’ way of living, namely our commutes.


In a series of tweets on Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio advised New Yorkers to consider telecommuting if at all possible, head to and from work at off hours, and take steps to reduce overcrowding. “Plan to have some extra travel time in your commute,” he tweeted. “If the train that pulls up is too packed, move to a different car or wait to take the next one.” 


This, of course, is not always easy given how packed subways can be during rush hour—nor is it necessarily the best way to ensure that there isn’t crowding on trains or, crucially, on platforms, as Curbed contributor Aaron Gordon explained in a lengthy Twitter thread. “The more people on the platform, the longer the dwell times,” he wrote. “The longer the dwell times, the fewer trains can run during peak periods. The fewer trains, the more crowding. See the problem?”

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