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TRANSCRIPT: MTA Acting Chair and CEO Lieber Appears on 1010 WINS' Midday News

Updated November 23, 2021 2:30 p.m.

MTA Acting Chair and CEO Janno Lieber appeared on 1010 WINS’ Midday News with Lane Bajardi to discuss the suggestion of a vaccine mandate for MTA employees.
A transcript of the interview appears below.
Lane Bajardi: Mayor de Blasio calling out Governor Hochul to put out a COVID vaccine mandate in place for all MTA employees. Let’s get reaction now to that call on 1010 WINS. We welcome acting MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber. Thanks for joining us. Your reaction to the mayor.
Janno Lieber: Good to be with you, Lane. Listen we respect the mayor and we respect Eric Adams who is going to succeed him, but we’ve talked about a lot of this stuff, especially about safety of the subways which he’s passionate about. But look, what we’re doing with respect to vax and tests, which is what we’re doing, is working. We’ve got four out of five MTA employees vaxxed and when we do testing, and we do a lot of it, we have a low positivity rate by the city, by a lot. We’re at .6% positivity rate. So we got a safe workforce, our customers are comfortable, and we know that because during discretionary travel hours, on the off hours and on the weekends, they’re coming back at about 70% of precovid. So the people are comfortable on the subway and most important, we’re succeeding in putting on service. That’s our real mission. We’re not interested in ideological debates about vax or not. What we’re interested in is that when you walk into a subway and you expect certain service, that the train is going to come on time, that we’re succeeding in doing that. We want to make sure all of our workforce is there. So we’re safe, our customers are comfortable and we’re putting out service. It’s working.
Bajardi: The mayor says that his mandates are working though for city employees. They’ve stepped up and they’ve gotten the vaccine. Certainly, the Governor herself has indicated a number of segments of the NY community, she believes must be vaccinated. Why not? What would hurt with the MTA employees also being part of that, as customer facing public employees?
Lieber: First of all, the Governor has been a great supporter of our efforts to make sure our workforce is safe, to get the maximum number of people vaccinated. We’ve added vax sites and actually testing at 600 different locations around the system, so incredible safety. I don’t know that there’s any one way to do this, but we’re banking on results. That’s what I’ve described. We got a safe workforce. We’ve got customers who are comfortable and we’re delivering. The governor has made that our core mission, and listen we’re hopeful that when Eric Adams comes in that’s he’s expressing reservations about mano-a-mano dispute with labor that the mayor has gotten into. We’re not just being in conflict with labor and our union partners. In fact, they are collaborators, they’re partners in getting people vaccinated and tested and keeping people safe. We want to have that kind of relationship with our unions because they are the guys and gals who deliver the service at the end of the day. So, so far it’s working well at the MTA and we’re gonna keep going under Governor Hochul’s leadership.
Bajardi: Thank you very much, Janno Lieber, for joining us, the Acting MTA Chairman and CEO on 1010 WINS’ Newsline. Look forward to speaking with you again. Thank you again. Have a good day.
Lieber: Thank you.