Nearly 150 years ago, something quite momentous happened in New York history: the first subway line was opened to the public. The system was the invention of Alfred Ely Beach and his company Beach Pneumatic Transit Company. Beach put up $350,000 of his own money to build the first prototype and tunnel and his company managed to put it together, somewhat covertly, in just 58 days. The tunnel measured about 312 feet long, eight feet in diameter, and was completed in 1870.
All photos: Marc A. Hermann / MTA on Flickr
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Thursday unveiled the first batch of subway cars of a brand new fleet that will serve passengers starting next summer. With wider doors and better signage, the long-awaited R211 cars are designed to increase capacity and provide commuters a more modern experience. The test cars that arrived this week fall under a $1.4 billion order from Kawasaki Rail Car Inc., which includes 535 subway and Staten Island Railway R211 cars. A few of the cars will hit the rails in the coming weeks, but won’t serve passengers until next September.
Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit on Flickr
Roughly a billion fewer passengers entered the New York City subway system in 2020 than in 2019, according to new data released this week by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The annual total ridership on the subway in 2019 was 1,697,787,002 passengers and 639,541,029 passengers in 2020. When the coronavirus pandemic hit last spring and Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all nonessential businesses to close, both city subway and bus ridership hit record lows. In April 2020, subway ridership hit just 8 percent of what it was in 2019.
Photo: Patrick Carey/ MTA on Flickr
It’s music to our ears. Live music will return to subway platforms across the city next month as part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s “Music Under New York” program. The program, which typically includes thousands of live shows performed each year, will resume June 4, about 14 months after public performances were halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
NYC Transit employees remove overnight closure signs. Courtesy of MTA on Flickr
New York City’s subway system resumed 24-hour service on Monday for the first time in over a year. Last May, Gov. Andrew Cuomo closed the subway overnight as part of a disinfection plan created in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It was the first time the trains closed overnight since the subway first opened 116 years ago. The return of 24/7 service this week comes just two days before most capacity restrictions in New York are lifted and as rates of COVID have fallen across the state.
With vaccination rates declining, the state is continuing to come up with incentives for New Yorkers to get the shot, from free Yankees and Mets tickets to free admission to museums. The latest is a partnership with the MTA to bring vaccines to busy subway, LIRR, and Metro-North stations, including Grand Central and Penn Station. Those who receive the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine at these locations will receive a free seven-day MetroCard or two free one-way trips on the LIRR or Metro-North.
Via Public Domain
Most state-mandated capacity restrictions in New York will be lifted on May 19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday. According to the governor, this means restaurants, stores, gyms, salons, amusement parks, and offices can reopen at 100 percent capacity for the first time in 14 months. The six-foot social distancing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will remain in effect at these places, which could still limit capacity depending on the space available. In anticipation of the reopening, on May 17, 24/7 subway service will resume.
Courtesy of the MTA
Coronavirus vaccination sites located across New York City have been added to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s digital subway map, helping straphangers find the easiest route to their appointments. The map, which launched last October and provides real-time service updates, now features a syringe icon that marks the location of vaccine hubs in every borough.
With New York City having fully vaccinated more than 450,000 people and a vaccine surge expected by April, it’s all too easy to start envisioning the good-old-days. But many aspects of city living may never quite be what they were. To account for that, the MTA has predicted a “new normal” ridership that will stabilize “in 2023 and 2024 between 80% and 92% of pre-pandemic levels,” according to a press release. And though the agency has staved off subway and bus service cuts through 2022, they warn that they may still eventually make cuts to adapt to reduced ridership.
Photo: Patrick Cashin / MTA New York City Transit
Overnight subway service in New York City will partially resume this month following more than nine months of closure. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced on Monday plans for a phased reopening of the subway starting February 22, which includes closing the system for cleaning from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. instead of from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Cuomo last May ordered the closure of 24/7 service, a first for the system, as part of a rigorous coronavirus disinfection plan and an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.