Prior to the pandemic, average weekday ridership totals routinely exceeded 5.5 million in the subway system. - Photo: MTA

Prior to the pandemic, average weekday ridership totals routinely exceeded 5.5 million in the subway system.

Photo: MTA

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced new pandemic-era subway ridership records on the New York City Subway, Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad.

Subway ridership continued its recovery with daily ridership surpassing 3.1 million riders for three consecutive days (Oct. 19-21) with a new pandemic-era record set on Thursday, Oct. 21 of 3,264,278.

Staten Island Railway ridership continues its upward trend averaging more than 7,000 weekday riders six of the last eight days with a pandemic-era record 7,490 on Thursday, Oct. 21.

“These ridership records are really encouraging,” said Janno Lieber, MTA acting chair and CEO. “Life for New Yorkers is getting back to normal. People are going to Broadway shows and sporting events. They’re eating at restaurants and are back at school. They trust the MTA to get them where they’re going. The system is safe and prepared to set new ridership records in the weeks ahead.”

Paratransit customers are booking an average of more than 24,000 weekday rides, which is 80% of pre-pandemic ridership.

The LIRR topped 150,000 riders per day Monday, Oct. 18 through Wednesday, Oct. 20 carrying a record 155,242 customers on Wednesday.

“As we continue to set pandemic-era records, it validates the tremendous efforts our employees have undertaken to make sure the system is safe and accommodating for our customers,” said Craig Cipriano, New York City Transit interim president. “The City’s recovery is going strong and I’m so happy that New York City Transit is playing large part in it. We will work tirelessly to encourage New Yorkers and visitors to return to mass transit. It really is the best way to get around our hometown.”

Metro-North carried a record 131,127 trains on Wednesday, Oct. 20. Average weekday ridership has averaged approximately 125,000 since early September.

“As the recovery of New York continues, Metro-North is thrilled to be an integral part of bringing people to all of the exciting activities that the Hudson Valley and New York City have to offer,” said Catherine Rinaldi, Metro North president. “Metro-North provides the fastest and safest way to travel, and the continuing jumps in ridership show that our customers have confidence that we will deliver.”

The total of NYCT Buses and Subways combined with the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad is now regularly surpassing five million weekly riders. 

As riders return to the system, they’ve discovered that the MTA’s world-class contactless payment system, OMNY, makes traveling simple and easy and is very much the desired mode of payment. Usage is up in the last year from 7% late summer 2020 to 25% in the same period this year.

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 and issued millions of masks to its customers. 

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