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MTA testing equipment now to prepare for winter weather on the way

MTA preparing now for winter weather on the way
MTA preparing now for winter weather on the way 01:54

NEW YORK -- Winter arrives in just a few short weeks, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it's already testing new equipment to be ready. 

Looming wintry weather can cause a damper for your commute on public transit, but the MTA says it's now working to ease your ride this season by testing equipment well before the first snowflakes start falling.

"We are gearing up for what we hope is going to be a mild winter," said Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi.

During the MTA's October and November board meetings, officials discussed what they're doing now to ensure a seamless commute for the millions of people who rely on public transit and their services. 

"Proactive measures include the testing of more than 200 small snow throwers and blowers, 20-25 pieces of heavy equipment for severe snowstorms and maintaining all other snow fighting equipment," Rinaldi said.

Depending on the service, the MTA has numerous tactics on how it deals with what could come.

If the city experiences up to 7 inches of snow, subways will operate regularly, according to the transit agency. Anything more than 7 inches could result in reduced service or, at worst, a full system shutdown, depending on the severity of the storm. 

The MTA says maintenance crews use specialized equipment, like snow throwers and deicers, to keep tracks clear.

For buses, riders could expect route cancellations, longer waits between buses and some may even skip stops. Snow chains on vehicles are often used to help navigate bad road conditions.

On commuter rails, such as LIRR and Metro-North, be prepared for reduced or suspended service on some routes or throughout the entire system.

If you drive, the MTA says plan for speed restrictions on roadways, ramps and toll plazas.

"A snow and ice event can have a devastating effect on service, and we like to be ready long before the first snowflakes start to fall," said LIRR Acting President  Rob Free.

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