The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is looking to partner with a transportation provider, to serve New Yorkers who work the late shift. The goal: Connect riders outside of Manhattan to the subway during overnight hours – potentially cutting commuting costs and time.

Many of the specifics of the “Late Shift” pilot program – including costs to commuters and how many people it intends to serve – had yet to be ironed out, as of early Feb. Census figures show a growing number of residents outside of Manhattan commute between midnight and 5:00am. The MTA will focus on areas at least a half-mile from the nearest “transit station” or have limited or no overnight bus service, in The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Further details will become clearer during a two-phase process, with the goal of starting a “scalable, sustainable and affordable” pilot program by June. The MTA projects it will pick a partner by the end of March, when the agency will have determined the location, timeframe and economic terms of Late Shift.

The service is touted as vital for workers in the health care, food service and hospitality fields, which the MTA says are expected to grow faster than overall employment within the next five to 10 years.

“So many of these folks have it much worse than the average New Yorker when it comes to the commute,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future. “They’re taking two buses in many cases and sometimes these connections take upwards of half an hour late at night.”

In 2018, the think tank published “An Unhealthy Commute,” a report that found health care workers have the worst commutes in New York – with a median of 51.2 minutes – and even more challenges tacked on during the overnight hours.

Source: The City

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