FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 22, 2005
STATEMENT BY MAYOR BLOOMBERG ON END OF ILLEGAL TRANSIT STRIKE
Remarks by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as prepared for delivery:
"Good afternoon to everyone. I am pleased that the TWU Executive Board has followed the recommendation of its leadership and the New York State mediators and voted to return to work.
"Based on that vote, the New York City Transit Authority is asking its workers to report to their next shift at 4pm. Keep in mind, we have an enormous mass transit system and it can't be turned on with the flip of the switch. There are a lot of logistics that need to be dealt with in order to get the subways and buses moving again. The Transit Authority will need between 10 and 18 hours after workers show up to get the system up to full capacity but we would expect buses to be running later this evening and hopefully, most subways in the morning.
"We will know later this afternoon what type of worker turnout there is. If it's big enough to get the system up and running, we hope to end the City's contingency plan at midnight tonight.
"As for this morning, rush hour was marred by a serious injury. An off-duty Firefighter was hit by a bus in midtown as he biked to work. He was taken to New York Hospital. His condition is grave, and I ask all New Yorkers to say a prayer for him.
"Other than that accident, the rush was similar in numbers to yesterday's numbers. There were slightly more cars and more people per car on the East River crossings.
"911 call volume is slightly higher than normal but response times are holding steady. School attendance today is slightly higher than yesterday.
"On the economic front, the news continues to be negative. I was in Brooklyn this morning where I met with some members of our business community and heard firsthand how difficult the strike has been for them.
"As I said yesterday, the New York Blood Center is in a state of emergency and desperately needs donors. You can get information through 311 or by visiting www.nybloodcenter.org and I encourage everyone to help.
"On a brighter note, it's a great time of year in New York City. We have a lot of tourists; people are enjoying our great Broadway shows; Christmas is on Sunday; and there's still plenty of time for people to shop, see the tree at Rockefeller Center, ice skate in Central Park, and enjoy the holiday season here in the greatest City in the world.
"Many of our cultural institutions, in response to the current situation, are offering discounts on tickets or gift shop purchases to patrons who present a Metrocard. Participants include the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Theaterworks/USA, the Brooklyn Museum, Repertorio Espagnol, the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Whitney Museum. A list of all organizations participating in the Metrocard Cultural Discount Program can be found on the Department of Cultural Affairs website: www.nyc.gov/culture.
"When the subways and buses start running again, things will get back to normal, our economy will get back on track, and I hope we can salvage the rest of the week.
"One thing is clear: This was a big test for this city and I think it passed with flying colors. It wasn't easy, and certainly serious economic harm was inflicted, but we did what we had to do to keep this City running and running safely. Public safety was our first priority and it never was in jeopardy.
"I would like to thank the Office of Emergency Management for developing a very effective contingency plan, as well as our Department of Transportation, Police Department, Fire Department and other city agencies for doing whatever was needed to make this City work."
Edward Skyler/Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958
Watch the video in 56k or 300k