New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced the New York City Subway, Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad reached pandemic ridership records, with 2,239,500 trips on the New York City Subway (including 3,823 on the Staten Island Railway), 101,600 LIRR, and 83,100 Metro-North trips recorded on Friday, May 7. 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 August 31.
The LIRR total is the first time the LIRR has reached more than 100,000 trips in one day. Subway ridership surpassed the two million mark on April 9.
“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.”
The MTA has undertaken unprecedented cleaning and disinfecting protocols in the year since the pandemic began to ensure the system as safe as possible for its customers. The authority 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% 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.
Prior to the pandemic, average weekday ridership totals routinely exceeded 5.5 million in the subway system. That figure fell by more than 90% 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 278,000 on Sunday, April 12, 2020. Average weekday ridership in April 2020 was 463,763. MTA employees continued to provide service for the frontline healthcare professionals and other essential workers who needed to get to work during some of the most troubling days in New York City history.