Subway, commuter rail ridership up to highest levels since Covid began
Bus use also up, signaling 'recovery strength,' MTA says
New York City subways, the Long Island Rail Road and MetroNorth have reached the highest ridership levels since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the MTA.
Subway riders on Friday made 2,239,500 trips, while LIRR riders made 101,600 trips. New York City Buses reached a pandemic high one day earlier, on Thursday, May 6, of 1,245,629.
These are the highest single-day ridership totals since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York, and for buses, since front-door boarding resumed on Aug. 31, the MTA said.
“Growing ridership across the MTA is good news for New York,” said MTA Chairman Patrick Foye. “It is an indicator that the region’s recovery from the pandemic is gaining strength.”
In addition to its new cleaning protocols, the MTA has also rolled out robust public education campaigns and issued millions of masks to its customers. Mask usage in the system remains high, with more than 98 percent of customers wearing a mask when riding mass transit.
The MTA also enhanced its Live Subway Map to allow riders to find vaccination sites throughout the city.
“People are coming back which is great news for New York City Transit,” said Sarah Feinberg, NYC Transit interim president, “but we need to continue to do all we can to get back to our pre-pandemic ridership levels.”
“Throughout the pandemic, buses continued to have the strongest relative ridership numbers,” said Craig Cipriano, president of the MTA Bus Company. “Our transit heroes work hard every day to provide the best service possible, and I’m glad to see that more and more New Yorkers are returning to the bus.”
“As the weather improves and sporting events and shows return to New York, we are excited to see our ridership grow,” said Phil Eng, president of the Long Island Rail Road. “And with the recent additions to our LIRR TrainTime app, including real-time seating and accessibility information, we are providing riders with as much information about their ride as possible.”
Prior to the pandemic, average weekday ridership totals routinely exceeded 5.5 million in the subway system. That figure fell by more than 90 percent to a low of roughly 300,000 daily trips last April as the number of COVID-19 cases peaked in the New York City area.
The low point of bus ridership was 278,067 on Sunday, April 12, 2020. Average weekday ridership in April 2020 was 463,763.
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