More than 7 million passengers in New York City are left without transportation after transit workers for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) went on strike Tuesday morning.
For the first time in 25 years, the nation's largest public transportation system has been shut down, with buses and subways not operating throughout all five boroughs.
Transport Workers Union Local 100 and its 30,000 members chose to walk off the job after failing to negotiate a new contract with MTA officials this week.
The strike defies the Taylor Law, which forbids public employees from walking off the job and calls for a fine of two days’ pay for each day of an illegal strike.
City officials have said the transit strike could cost the city as much as $400 million a day in lost productivity and extra costs such as overtime pay for law enforcement.
According to wire reports, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg described the strike as “illegal and morally reprehensible” and said the union faces severe consequences.
New York Gov. George Pataki was also highly critical, stating that the strike “recklessly endangers the health and safety of each and every New Yorker.”
The city has implemented a contingency plan that requires carpooling and travel restrictions. Cars may not enter Manhattan between 5:00 and 11:00 a.m. without at least four passengers.
Schools were delayed two hours, and extra police have been deployed throughout the city.
The last transit strike in New York City occurred in 1980 and lasted 11 days.