Another record: NYC daily subway ridership sets new pandemic high

Photo by Dean Moses

Another Friday brought another pandemic ridership record for the still-recovering New York City subways — but it wasn’t much of an bump.

Approximately 2,585,965 commuters rode the MTA’s subways and the Staten Island Railway on June 25, or 9,690 more than the previous record of 2,576,275 riders recorded seven days earlier, on June 18. That represents a growth of just 0.37% over the week.

The MTA touted the accomplishment Monday as another sign of the city’s mass transit system continuing to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. At the height of the health crisis, in April 2020, subway ridership fell by more than 90% as businesses closed and New Yorkers stayed home.

But in the year since the city’s reopening started, in June 2020, subway ridership has climbed upward to nearly half of what it was before the pandemic struck New York City. Back in February 2020, more than 5.5 million subway trips were recorded daily.

The MTA reported that combined subway and bus ridership reached 3.76 million on June 25, accounting for 50% of pre-pandemic levels. The Long Island Rail Road also saw a new record high for pandemic ridership that same day, with 126,722 customers aboard the commuter rail system.

“The subway is breaking ridership records on a weekly basis,” said Demetrius Crichlow, executive vice president of subways for MTA New York City Transit. “If there was anyone who wondered what a sustained comeback in subway ridership looks like, we are seeing that clearly every week.”

Even with riders slowly returning to the subway system, vehicular traffic has been robust on the MTA bridges and tunnels. Last week, the MTA reported that traffic levels on its tolled crossings had reached about 96% of its pre-pandemic levels.

Nonetheless, the MTA is encouraging more New Yorkers to leave their cars at home and get back on the subway, especially during the July 4 holiday weekend. 

On Saturday and Sunday, July 3-4, the subways will run on a weekend schedule, and on Monday, July 5 (a legal holiday for the observance of Independence Day), trains will run on a Saturday schedule. Throughout the weekend, the Rockaway Park Shuttle running up to Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park, Queens to connect beachgoers using the A train. 

For more information on subway and bus service, visit mta.info.