Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the New York City Subway set a new record for single-day ridership since the Omicron wave hit New York City. According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the subway system carried 3,145,294 riders on March 1. The record beats the previous record set on February 10 when subways carried 3,118,851 riders, a period in which subway ridership surpassed three million on seven out of eight consecutive days. The latest ridership figure is a 56% increase since subway ridership hit a weekday Omicron low of 2,011,675 on Dec. 27, 2021.
To further encourage ridership, the MTA launched a new fare-capping pilot program that make fares more affordable and flexible. The cap on weekly fares through the authority's contactless payment system includes a "Lucky 13" feature. Starting with the 13th ride of each week, every additional ride on subways or buses is free for the rest of that week.
The MTA has undertaken unprecedented cleaning and disinfecting protocols in the year since the pandemic began in 2020 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.
Prior to the pandemic, average weekday ridership totals routinely exceeded 5.5 million in the subway system. That figure fell by 95% to a low of roughly 300,000 daily trips in April 2020 as the number of COVID-19 cases peaked in the New York City area. 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 difficult days in New York City history.