Service on several subway lines was suspended Wednesday. The MTA stopped running the W, B and Z lines, and express service on multiple lines went local.
"We're running as much service as we can with the train crews we have available,” the MTA said on its website.
COVID-19 is spreading rapidly amongst the MTA workforce, causing the transit authority to cut back on service.
Lisa Daglian, the executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee, says the MTA is doing the best it can to deal with the surge in cases.
"The MTA continues to run the service it can with the crews it has available and that is something we have been hearing for the past year,” Daglian said. “It is something that we'd hope was getting better, but unfortunately it is the news that riders are having to deal with and unfortunately it is getting worse. "
The MTA routes impacted share stations with at least one other subway line.
Daglian says the priority for the MTA is to limit the impact of the staffing shortage as much as possible.
"So nobody is stuck without service, it is still running 24/7 service, which we really saw is so critical,” Daglian said.
However, the shortage is coming at a bad time, according to Daglian.
During the pandemic, ridership dropped to a fraction of pre-COVID levels and had been recovering.
Now, with longer wait times and fewer trains running, she fears crowded platforms and train cars will deter people from public transportation.
"Riding transit is not a primary spreader of COVID, so that should not be what concerns people,” she explained.
The MTA is in the process of hiring and training bus, subway and rail operators, following its hiring freeze, but Daglian says there are still not enough people to cover those out sick.
The MTA did not respond to questions about the exact number of employees out sick.