New York City’s subways, buses reaches record highs since start of pandemic: MTA

A New York City Transit conductor in Manhattan on first day of phase one reopening in New York City
An MTA New York City Subway conductor wears a protective face mask in Manhattan on June 8, 2020.
REUTERS/Mike Segar

Ridership in the New York City transit system is continuing to grow and reaching record highs since the start of the pandemic.

The MTA announced that on Friday, May 7, the New York City Subway recorded 2,239,500 trips, including 3,823 on the Staten Island Railway, the LIRR recorded 101,600 trips and 83,100 on the Metro-North. The LIRR total is the first time the LIRR has reached more than 100,000 trips in one day. 

On Thursday, May 6, New York City Buses reached a pandemic high of 1,245,629.  These tallies are the highest single-day ridership totals since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York. For buses, this is the highest since front-door boarding resumed on Aug. 31. 

“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.”  

Prior to the pandemic, the average daily ridership reached over 5.5 million rides in the subway system. The total fell over 90% to a low of roughly 300,000 daily trips in April 2020, with the average 278,067 on Sunday, April 12, 2020. The average weekday ridership in April 2020 was 463,763.

“People are coming back which is great news for New York City Transit,” said Sarah Feinberg, NYC Transit Interim President, “But we need to continue to do all we can to get back to our pre-pandemic ridership levels.” 

The MTA has since implemented rigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols since the pandemic began to ensure the system as safe as possible for its customers, and has enhanced its Live Subway Map to help riders find vaccination sites. The MTA has also rolled out public education campaigns and handed out millions of masks to riders, and mask usage remains high with 98% of straphangers wearing masks when riding mass transit.