Brooklyn Boro

New York City subway ridership down 92 percent due to coronavirus

April 8, 2020 Mary Frost
A woman wears a mask and gloves waiting for a Manhattan bound R Train at the 77th Street Station in Brooklyn on March 12, 2020. Photo: Paul Frangipane/Brooklyn Eagle
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Despite occasional rush hour crowds, New York City subway ridership is down 92 percent due to coronavirus shelter-in-place regulations, MTA Chairman Pat Foye said Wednesday in an interview on WCBS 880.

Numbers are drastically down across all area transit methods, Monday’s MTA data showed. Long Island Rail Road ridership has decreased by 97 percent, Metro-North by 95 percent, and bridge and tunnels traffic is down by 63 percent, Foye said.

“This is a mixed blessing,” Foye said. “Ordinarily, I would not be rooting for ridership to be down, but obviously that’s a good thing because people are heeding the governor’s directive. However, that is going to have a significant financial toll on the MTA.”

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The first round of federal CARES funding provided nearly $4 billion in funding for the MTA to make up the ridership decline caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, Foye said, but MTA will need additional funding because of the ridership decline and expected state subsidy cuts.

“The first round of $4 billion funding is really critical, but we’re going to need additional funding,” he said.

Foye called the moments of subway overcrowding “episodic.”

“It would occur mostly at 149th Street and Grand Concourse, and 149th and Third Avenue. We believe that is a thing of the past. The NYPD, which patrols those stations has been all over it,” he said.

MTA has restored service on the 2 line, he added which had been eliminated “because of people calling in sick and testing positive for the virus.” MTA has also redeployed more than 50 buses.

“The message to our riders is if you’re not an essential or a first responder, stay home, don’t take the subway or buses. If you are a first responder or an essential employee, cover your nose or mouth with a bandana or scarf,” he said, adding that masks and other PPE has been distributed to MTA workers.

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