Week of April 28–May 5, 2020
Riders last week: 4,693
Rider Miles last week: 22,814
DOWN IN THE TUBE
The reopening of the Hamptons Subway took place last Monday morning at 8 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting on the sidewalk above the Southampton Station entrance. Hamptons Mayor Charlie Brady spoke first about the importance of the subway to the community, thanked everyone, and then used the big scissors to cut the ribbon halfway. After that, he walked to the side six feet and tossed the scissors back to Commissioner Bill Aspinall, who stood where the half-cut ribbon was and spoke—there was no crowd—about how Hamptons Subway was the first subway system on the East End to open up, how they had jumped the gun by opening up a week ahead of any official announcement or mandate from Governor Cuomo, and then he made the last half of the cut, causing the ribbon to come fluttering down. With that, the Hampton Auxiliary Marching Band tuba player, in full uniform, played all three stanzas of “Hurrah for the Red, White and Blue,” after which Chief of Police James Brody declared the Hamptons Subway open.
NEW RULES FOR THE SUBWAY
The trains are now running throughout the subway system at their regular eight-minute intervals, but the approval for their use requires that all straphangers wear masks and gloves and sit at least six feet apart from all other customers on the trains. There is no standing on the subway.
As a result, there can be only six passengers in any car on the train, after which the train will be considered full.
To enforce this rule, the government will dispatch 48 fully armed members of the National Guard to stand on the sidewalk out front of each of the 24 subway station entrances, one on each side of the stairs. They also are equipped with a free-standing illuminated sign they will set up by the entrances, on which will be displayed the number of subway goers they let down the steps. Since there are eight cars to each subway train, they will stop anyone from going down the steps when the number reaches 48—the capacity of the cars. Prospective subway goers can see at a glance if they will be let down the stairs. But then the number will renew to 0 every eight minutes, so it is not too bad.
The National Guardsman will also be equipped with a metal index-finger laser device. They will touch the nose of every prospective rider and will turn away anyone who tests COVID-19 positive by lighting up the nose red. Best for people to know this ahead of time.
Also, the cost of a subway ride, once you get down to the turnstiles, will no longer be $2.75. For the duration of this crisis, the cost will be $30.25, to cover the cost of all the above. Be sure you have enough on your subway card to cover this new price. If the amount on the card is low, you can replenish the cards using the automated card-replenish machines we have borrowed from the New York Subway system, which you will find now on every platform—if you get past the National Guardsmen. If not, replenish your card using the automated machine we have by the front door of the Hamptons Subway building in Hampton Bays. Or you can do it all later on the platform when you get well.
Finally, after this crisis ends, we will be returning these machines and will once again have the unionized token agents back in their regular jobs, replenishing and dispensing cards from their token booths.