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MTA subways, buses set new COVID-era ridership record

September 16, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The New York City subway system set a new pandemic-era ridership record on Tuesday for the second consecutive day, the MTA announced.

The system carried just over 2.9 million riders. breaking the previous pandemic-era high of 2.76 million who rode the system the previous day. 

In addition to the strong subway totals, MTA and New York City Transit buses carried some 1.31 million riders. The combined subways and buses total of more than 4.2 million represents a one day pandemic-era record for New York City Transit ridership. 

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The news came just days after the MTA formally launched “Welcome Back New York,” a robust public messaging campaign aimed at urging New Yorkers to return to the system.

“This is amazing news,” said Acting MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber, a resident of Victorian Flatbush. “New Yorkers are resuming all sorts of normal activities. They’re going to restaurants, they’re going to ballgames, they’re returning to school.  And they trust the MTA to get them where they’re going. The system is safe and prepared to welcome back even more customers in the days and weeks ahead.”

“The pandemic-era records we’ve seen the last couple days speak to the tremendous efforts our employees have undertaken to make sure the system is safe and accommodating for our customers,” said New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano. “We’ve seen four straight weekday ridership records on New York City Transit, and I’m hopeful we can surpass the Yankees recent win streak of 13.” 

Acting MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber, a Flatbush resident. Photo courtesy of MTA

In addition, more than 120,000 customers took Metro North on Tuesday, the second-highest day of the pandemic. The previous high of over 122,000 came on Monday. LIRR ridership reached just under 145,000 on Tuesday, the third highest day of the pandemic after setting a record of nearly 151,000 on Friday, Sept. 10, and then recording just under 148,000 on Monday.

The MTA has undertaken unprecedented cleaning and disinfecting protocols in the year since the pandemic began to ensure that the system is as safe as possible for its customers. The authority has also rolled out public education campaigns, issued millions of masks to its customers, and is hosting public vaccination hubs at Grand Central and Penn Station.

Prior to the pandemic, average weekday ridership totals routinely exceeded 5.5 million in the subway system. That figure fell by 95 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. 


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