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MTA To Resume 24-Hour Subway Service May 17, Gov. Cuomo Says

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The MTA will resume 24-hour subway service starting May 17, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

Many riders said it's been a long time coming. But like almost anything that requires coordination between the governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio, this plan is replete with infighting, CBS2's Ali Bauman reported.

More than a year ago, Cuomo reduced subway service for daily cleaning amid the COVID outbreak. Service has been shut down from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. to accommodate cleaning crews.

More workers are saying they need late night service now that curfews and other restrictions are being lifted.

"With cases going down, it's understandable that some of these measures would be pulled back. I just hope it doesn't come to disadvantage us," said Chris Meyers.

"My job, they come in a 4 or 5 a.m. So the time being pushed back, it affects us. But we would all like it to go back to normal," another subway rider told CBS2.

Mask wearing in the subway will remain mandatory.

The MTA said ridership in April surpassed 2 million passengers per day - the most since the pandemic started.

The Transport Workers Union said it only supports resuming overnight service if cleaning and disinfecting of trains continues. On Sunday, a spokesperson said, "The MTA needs to hire more TWU cleaners. Too many positions were not filled during the pandemic."

"They have to maintain the cleanliness, which is what's instilling confidence in people to get back on the subway system," Cuomo said.

Watch Gov. Cuomo's May 3, 2021 Press Conference

Felony assaults in the transit system are up 17% compared to the same time last year, and a recent MTA survey found straphangers are more concerned about crime and harassment than cleanliness.

Bauman pressed MTA Chief of Safety and Security Patrick Warren about the issue.

"That's why we're putting more security out there. That's why we're asking the NYPD for more officers out there. That's why we're hiring more officers ourselves. That's why we're putting more CCTV cameras in," Warren said last week.

The Transport Workers Union is also calling on the city to add more mental health and homeless services.

Mayor de Blasio insists the city is already doing enough.

"A huge number of folks have come in, out of the subways, into shelter and stayed in shelter. It really comes down to a lot of outreach at the right places at the right times, and we'll certainly be ready for that," de Blasio said.

Even though Cuomo runs the MTA, don't expect to see him taking the subway anytime soon.

"Have you been on the subway? 'Cause I have, and I was scared. I'm not telling my child to ride the subway because I'm afraid for my child. So if you ignore the problem, you're not fooling anyone," Cuomo said.

A City Hall spokesperson told CBS2 in a statement, "The mayor is rooting for New York City's comeback and I sincerely wish the governor was too."

CBS2 asked the governor when he last rode the subway, but we're still waiting for a response.

At Monday's press conference, Cuomo also said most capacity restrictions in the Tri-State Area will be lifted May 19 in coordination with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.

New York will lift outdoor food and beverage curfews May 17. The indoor curfews will be lifted May 31.

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