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Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday agreed to set an example and eschew his SUV and driver to ride the subway in a bid to encourage more New Yorkers to get back onto mass transit despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is important to let people know the subways are safe,” the mayor said during his daily briefing, in response to a reporter’s suggestion that he ride mass transit for a week to show it’s safe, just as he plans to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I like the idea of having a period of time to really emphasize to people that they’re safe, by being out there,” de Blasio told the StreetsBlog reporter.
Hizzoner — who has not eaten indoors at a restaurant or taken a ride on the subway since the city first shut down in March — has said he plans to publicly receive the vaccine “to show people that it’s safe.”
Subway ridership currently sits around 1.7 million trips per day after dramatic drops in the initial weeks and months of the pandemic, as New Yorkers avoided trains and buses for fear of contracting the deadly virus in close quarters.
Transit officials insist transit is no less safe than any other public space where masks are required. The MTA points to a recent study that showed no correlation between the spread of influenza and other respiratory diseases and mass transit use in cities.
There is “a cascade of scientific reporting that shows transit is not a vector for the spread of respiratory diseases, and there has been no serious evidence worldwide connecting transit routes and spread of this virus,” MTA rep Meredith Daniels told Gothamist earlier this month.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo rode the subway when the city’s reopening started in June. At the time, de Blasio said he intended to take his own transit jaunt.
Six months later, the SUV-loving mayor has yet to ride the train.
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