New York City’s 24-hour subway system is one of the major reasons why the Big Apple is “The City That Never Sleep,” but the around-the-clock public transportation system could potentially roll back on early morning service as the system heads into the 21st century.

Time Out reports that in an effort to expedite NYC’s planned subway system overhaul, the Regional Plan Association suggests eliminating service between 12:30AM and 5:00AM. According to the RPA, ridership for these hours account for 1.5% or 85,000 of New York City subway system’s riders, and would give crews working on the overhaul more time to do construction and maintenance. With the hours still in place, the overhaul to the system could take up to 50 years to complete. With early morning service eliminated, Time Out reports that the systemwide project could be done in as little as 12 years.

To serve those that still need transportation during the off-peak early morning hours, riders would instead use a more efficient overnight bus service.

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During a press briefing, the president of the RPA, Tom Wright, made clear that the days of taking New York’s famed subways at all hours could soon be a thing of the past.

“The highest priority is modernizing the subway system,” Wright noted, alluding to the fact that the city’s current always-on subway system will slow down modernization efforts. “The era of the 24/7 subway system in New York City has come to an end.”


While the proposal from the RPA will need to be vetted and given an arduous review by government and policy officals, the momentary inconvenience stands to have long-term benefits for the future of mobility in New York City.

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