New York City will shut down all public transportation starting at noon on Saturday, The New York Times is reporting.
The shutdown will affect all subways and buses operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), as well as the Long Island Rail Road and MetroNorth, which runs commuter trains to suburban New York and Connecticut. The independent NJ Transit has not yet announced whether it will stop running its trains.
A spokesman for the MTA told IBTimes that he could not confirm the shutdown until Mayor Michael Bloomberg had made a public announcement, which he was expected to do in minutes.
We are making arrangements to bring in extra personnel over the weekend, preparing our facilities and infrastructure by clearing drains, securing work sites against possible high winds, checking and fueling equipment, stocking supplies, and establishing plans to move equipment and supplies away from low-lying areas as needed, a statement on the MTA Web site read as of 1:40 p.m. on Friday. Because of the severity of the wind and rain associated with a hurricane, there may be partial or full shut down of our services to ensure the safety of our customers and employees.
It was unclear for how long the system would be shut down, but if Hurricane Irene hits the area as badly as it is expected to, there could be myriad problems, including flooding, fallen trees and other debris in the street and on subway tracks.
The shutdown over the weekend will inconvenience millions of riders, but the consequences will be even worse if transportation is still not running when the morning rush hour comes around on Monday.