The W train will finally return to service for the first time in 2022 starting Monday, Jan. 24, more than three weeks after the MTA suspended the line due to COVID-19-related crew shortages.
The weekday local will once again carry straphangers between Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria, Queens, and Whitehall Street in Lower Manhattan, and its comeback marks the last of six lines that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority pulled at the beginning of the year due to a surge in workers falling ill with the virus.
“Fortunately, the number of people unavailable due to COVID has eased in the last few days; therefore, we are able to restore service on the W, the last subway line suspended during the Omicron surge,” said MTA Chairperson and CEO Janno Lieber in a statement Sunday.
As the infectious Omicron strain tore through the city, the MTA suddenly took the B, Z, and W off the rails ahead of the morning rush on Dec. 30, along with express service on the 6 and 7 on Jan. 3. The transit agency also stopped running A trains out to Rockaway Park on Dec. 27.
Stations affected by the six suspensions still had other train lines serving them, such as the N, Q, and R on sections of the W’s route.
All but the W returned on Jan. 19 as the wave of infections among transit workers started to slow, according to officials.
The massive Authority logged at least 17,768 positive tests for the virus since the first Omicron cases were registered in New York on Dec. 2, which represents about 26% of its 67,000-strong workforce, the Daily News reported.
Lieber said Sunday that the rate among train operator and conductors specifically had declined from about 14% to 7% and that the numbers “continue to drop every day.”
The MTA is one of the only agencies or companies in the Five Boroughs that does not mandate its workers get a COVID-19 vaccine, and the Authority has a below-average vaccination rate of 75% for at least one dose.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.