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MTA Plans ‘Horn Blast Salute’ to Honor Frontline Workers

(Arthur Lambillotte, Unsplash)

April 14, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

New York’s transport services are coming together to salute frontline workers who have been keeping the state’s public transportation network running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trains, buses and ferries from various transportation bodies across the state and New York metropolitan area will take part in a simultaneous horn blast tribute on Thursday, according to the MTA.

The coordinated gesture, scheduled for April 16, at 3 p.m., will involve all in-service vehicles giving two, one-second horn blasts at the same time.

MTA, Amtrak, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as well as other regional bus and ferry operators have announced they will take part in the effort that recognizes frontline staff who are putting their lives in harms way in order to transport essential employees to their workplaces.

The partner agencies expect nearly 4,400 trains, buses and ferries to participate including New York City Transit’s subways and buses, the Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad. MTA Bridges and Tunnels crew members operating maintenance vehicles will also participate, the MTA said.

MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye described the frontline workforce as heroes and hopes that the salute will draw attention to their efforts throughout the pandemic.

“They are courageously coming to work each day to perform their essential duties, which are critically important to this region during the pandemic,” he said.

MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye (Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority).

MTA workers have been hit particularly hard by the virus with 59 workers losing their lives to COVID-19, according to an agency spokesperson.

More than 2,200 of the agency’s 74,000 person workforce have tested positive for the disease, with 4,883 in quarantine or out sick. However, the agency said that 3,266 staff members who were out sick or in quarantine have now returned to work duties.

Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said his workers are dedicated to keeping its services in operation despite the deadly pandemic still gripping the state.

“The essential workers who operate and maintain our transportation systems are committed to keeping the region’s first responders, healthcare workers, grocery and delivery workers, and all other essential workers moving to where they need to go safely, reliably, and efficiently,” he said.

New Yorkers are being encouraged to post audio and video of the effort to social media and tag the specific agency, accompanied by the hashtag #SoundTheHorn. They are hoping this will contribute to increasing worker solidarity across the various bodies, the announcement reads.

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