NYC subway tops 4 million daily riders for the first time since March 2020

Posted On Mon, April 24, 2023 By

Posted On Mon, April 24, 2023 By In Policy, Transportation

Photo by on Flickr

For the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the New York City subway system served more than four million riders in a single day. Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday announced the NYC subway system recorded 4,002,961 paid riders on April 20, the highest tally reached since March 12, 2020. OMNY, the transit system’s contactless fare system, also set a single-day subway record on Thursday with 1,699,914 taps, representing 42.5 percent of the day’s subway rides.

“The MTA is the lifeblood of this city, and New York State has made critical investments in our subways to improve the rider experience,” Hochul said. “Surpassing four million riders for the first time since the start of the pandemic is a testament to the resiliency of New Yorkers and the importance of supporting the nation’s largest transit system.”

The Metro-North Railroad also set a new Covid-era ridership record on Thursday, with its three-day average ridership hitting 193,11 riders or 73.5 percent of post-pandemic levels. This record follows the rail system recording a new daily pandemic-era ridership on April 19, with 195,086 riders, or 74 percent of the pre-pandemic average.

The Long Island Rail Road recorded more than 200,000 riders on 16 days since February 27, the date Grand Central Madison opened for full service, a number that had only been exceeded twice in the first 57 days of 2023. Between April 9 and 15, the LIRR had an average of 168,726 daily riders, the highest seven-day average since March 2020.

On December 20, 2022, the MTA announced that it would alter Monday and Friday subway service on a select number of subway lines to better accommodate post-pandemic transit ridership trends. As part of the adjustment, the number of scheduled trips on weekends would be increased while the number of trips on Mondays and Fridays would be decreased, two days where data showed the lowest ridership.

Later that week, it was announced that the city’s subway system had carried over one billion passengers over the course of the year for the first time since 2019, up from 760 million in 2021 and 640 million in 2020. While it was a significant achievement for the MTA, it was still roughly 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

“At the height of the pandemic, ridership dropped by 90 percent, but we kept the system running full tilt to make sure that essential workers could get to hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores and distribution centers,” Janno Lieber, MTA Chair and CEO, said.

“This record is a testament to the resilience of New Yorkers and a reminder that mass transit is the lifeblood of this city.”


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