Keeping Cool: MTA’s Tactics for Managing Heat Waves

Keeping Cool: MTA’s Tactics for Managing Heat Waves

By BoroPark24 Staff

With the heat wave that is currently passing through New York, the MTA announced precautions they’re taking to ensure services continue running smoothly and all passengers remain cool on their commutes.

During the winter months, BoroPark24 provided a comprehensive report on how the MTA prepares for winter and snowy weather. This afternoon, we reached out to the MTA for a summer update, considering that most of the facilities and vehicles are outdoors and exposed to the heat and its impacts.

“All of the MTA network can be affected by high heat, from tracks and signals to customer waiting areas above and below ground, to critical infrastructure like communications rooms and power equipment” said MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer. “That’s why investments in state-of-good-repair are our most critical priority and why we have outlined a Resilience Roadmap as we head into future capital programs.”

Subway System

On an average day, 99% of subway cars have functioning air conditioning. Subway personnel are strategically stationed at key locations with extra coverage throughout the system to respond quickly to any weather-related issues. Facility equipment in machine rooms, including generators, cables, and connections, is inspected and tested throughout the day.

Crews inspect subway cars before each trip and upon re-entering the yard to ensure the air conditioning is working properly. Additionally, crews pre-stage emergency equipment to be ready for any issues.

To minimize potential service disruptions, heat patrols are implemented during unusually hot weather, increasing track inspections and positioning extra personnel in key risk areas. When rail temperatures exceed 100 degrees, they conduct a continuous welded rail watch to monitor for rail kinks or other issues.

City Buses

All bus depots pay special attention to heat-related impacts to service and inspect all buses to ensure air conditioning is functioning as intended. In the event of a power outage, each depot is equipped with generators to keep buses on the move.

Buses and operators will be on standby for any support needed with subways or emergency service.


Access-A-Ride sent a heat advisory to all carriers and notified them to check air conditioning on all vehicles. Superintendents have been deployed to depots to monitor vehicle pullouts, and floater vehicles will be deployed throughout the system to respond to any emergencies.

The Access-A-Ride Call Center has been instructed on excessive heat procedures for customers and will monitor trip and vehicle cancellations.

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