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Mayor De Blasio's Statement That Some New Yorkers 'Are Going To Have To Improvise' Getting To Work Draws Criticism

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Some remarks made by Mayor Bill de Blasio during his daily coronavirus briefing on Friday are raising eyebrows.

For a guy who gets driven to work and to his Brooklyn gym in a fancy SUV, the mayor's advice to New Yorkers afraid to take mass transit and trying to figure out how to safely get to work once the city reopens was akin to Marie-Antoinette saying let them eat cake, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported.

"I really want to push back on the notion that we can solve everything all the time," de Blasio said.

The mayor said he would be speaking with Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Pat Foye about what customers should expect from mass transit.

READ: MTA's Open Letter To NYC's Business Community


"We have got to figure out how to make the subways and buses, not only as clean as possible, which I think the MTA has done a great job on, but we've got to make sure there's maximum service levels. We've got to make sure there's social distancing and limits on how many people can be in each subway car and in each bus," de Blasio said.

WATCH: Mayor Bill de Blasio Gives Daily Coronavirus Briefing

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who controls the MTA, said people will have a choice, driving a car or taking a train to get to work, but he also offered more clarity on the MTA's reopening plans, Kramer reported.

"You can't social distance, but you can stagger the volume. There will be personnel to limit how many people can get on a train," Cuomo said.

De Blasio said the public's intuition, at times, will have to be its guide.

"I think New Yorkers are very resourceful. They also find their own ways to get things done. But I just want to be honest about the fact that, you know, where we can find a way to help people, we will. There's not always the chance to help everyone all the time in terms of their transportation needs. People are going to have to improvise and I believe they will," he added.

That prompted swift reaction from other officials.

"With all due respect. We have no idea what the mayor is talking about. The MTA has briefed City Hall multiple times on reopening, including another productive meeting held just yesterday. If the mayor has questions, he can pick up the phone and call us any time," Interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg wrote on Twitter.

"Leaving people to 'improvise' will mean the wealthy insulate themselves from transit mismanagement by driving while the poor get stuck on traffic-clogged buses. We need a plan and that starts with 40 miles of bus lanes citywide," Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer wrote on Twitter.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The mayor was asked about adding more bus lanes during his WNYC radio show.

"I'm not going to make a comment in the middle of a phone call I want to think about it carefully," de Blasio said.

All this came as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance encouraging people in congested areas like New York not to take public transportation.

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