MTA sets pandemic-era ridership records on NYC subway, LIRR, Metro-North

ByChloe Messina WABC logo
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
MTA sets ridership records on subway, LIRR, Metro-North during pandemic
Lauren Glassberg reports on the ridership records.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The MTA announced Tuesday that the New York City Subway, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North broke pandemic-era ridership records on consecutive days last week.

The streak culminated on Friday, June 18, with the subways carrying 2.57 million riders, the LIRR carrying 122,848 customers, and Metro-North carrying 104,304 customers -- the first time Metro-North has surpassed 100,000 riders since the start of the pandemic.

The combined subway and bus ridership of more than 3.7 million is close to 50% of pre-pandemic levels.

"The subway's ridership return continues to gather momentum," interim President of MTA New York City Transit Sarah Feinberg said. "The subway is essential to New York, and higher ridership is the surest sign of New York's post-pandemic recovery."

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Subways broke records on three consecutive days last week, carrying 2.52 million riders on Wednesday, 2.55 million on Thursday, and 2.57 million on Friday.

"Our dedicated employees are working hard to provide the cleanest, safest and most reliable service possible," Executive Vice President of Subways Demetrius Crichlow said. "As traffic congestion returns to the streets and the temperatures rise, riders will appreciate the speed and comfort of travel on the subway now as much as ever."

The LIRR set records for three consecutive days last week, carrying 119,205 riders on June 16 and 121,580 on June 17, before carrying 122,848 riders on June 18.

"More customers coming back to the LIRR is a vote of confidence in the strides we have made to improve service reliability, system cleanliness and availability of real-time traveler information," LIRR President Phil Eng said. "Roads are more crowded than ever. Taking the train is smart, convenient and less stressful than driving. As ridership continues to return, not only is it environmentally friendly, but it means the economy is coming back."

Metro-North also set consecutive records last week, carrying 98,435 riders on Thursday, which stood as the pandemic-era record before being broken by the 104,304 who rode on Friday.

"Ridership records coming now during the start of the summer, traditionally a less busy time for office workers, underscores the fact that Metro-North isn't a traditional 'commuter' railroad," Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi said. "Metro-North is a convenient way to make leisure and discretionary trips around our region and a great way to beat traffic and have a relaxing ride."

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As a result of increased ridership, the MTA has continued heightened 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 robust public education campaigns and issued millions of masks to its customers. The MTA is hosting public vaccination hubs at Grand Central and Penn Station.

Prior to the pandemic, average weekday ridership totals routinely exceeded 5.5 million in the subway system. That figure fell by more than 90% to a low of roughly 300,000 daily trips last April 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.


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