Governor Kathy Hochul announced record ridership on Metropolitan Transportation Authority commuter railroads as of Sept. 7, according to the agency's news release.
The Long Island Rail Road surpassed 200,000 riders on a weekday for the first time since March 2020, carrying 203,983 riders. Metro-North Railroad carried a record 179,268 riders on Wednesday, surpassing the railroad's previous record set on June 28 of 174,900.
"I am proud to announce this new ridership milestone as we welcome New Yorkers back to school and work this week," Hochul said. "Public transportation is the lifeblood of New York City, and we look forward to building on this progress as we continue working to return to pre-pandemic ridership levels."
Subways and buses also showed growth, carrying close to five million riders the day before New York City schools opened. Subway ridership climbed nearly 10% compared to last week, carrying 3,440,418 riders, a 36.1% increase from the comparable day in 2021. Ridership on buses totaled 1,313,658 riders, expected to rise by approximately 15% when the rider count is complete.
"Mass transit is the lifeblood of New York, and most affordable way to get around," said Janno Lieber, MTA CEO. "It is the best way for people to experience everything New York has to offer. With students, teachers and office workers now returning throughout the region, we hope to keep this progress going and reach more milestones in the weeks to come."
In preparation for the new school year, the MTA deployed extra buses throughout all five boroughs on weekdays for the rest of the school year. Additionally, the MTA is providing customer ambassadors in the Bronx to help students, their families, and caregivers navigate the new Bronx Local Bus Network Redesign routes which began in June. Ambassadors will be available for the first four days of school, Sept. 8, 9, 12, and 13, according to MTA.
The MTA continues to encourage ridership with fare discounts rolled out earlier this year.
The agency launched a fare-capping pilot on subways and buses through its contactless fare payment system OMNY that put a cap on weekly subway and bus fares. The fare-capping pilot includes a "Lucky 13" feature where, starting with the 13th ride of each week, every additional ride on subways or buses is free for the rest of that week.
On the commuter rail, both LIRR and Metro-North rolled out fare offerings including a 10% discount for monthly passes, and a new 20-trip ticket tailored for the hybrid work schedule. The new 20-trip ticket saves riders 20% on regular peak one-way fares. For commuter rail riders traveling within the five boroughs the MTA also expanded City Ticket, which offers a reduced, flat fare of $5 for rail travel within New York City on weekends, to include all weekday off-peak trains.