Governor Hochul Announces Subway and Commuter Railroads Break Pandemic Ridership Records as More Riders Return to Offices and School
“These record ridership numbers show that New Yorkers are returning to school, the workplace and bringing our economy back with them,” Governor Hochul said. “New York’s comeback is underway, and we will continue working to increase ridership across our bus, subway and rail systems, restore riders’ confidence in the MTA, and keep our recovery moving forward.”
The subway, including the Staten Island Railway, carried 2,767,385 customers on Monday, Sept. 13, the highest ridership since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. The figure surpasses the previous pandemic-era record of 2,722,587 on Friday, Sept. 10.
Demetrius Crichlow, Senior Vice President of Subways, New York City Transit, said, “It is encouraging to see the subway system bustling with riders once again as more people return to their regular routines of taking the train to the office and to school. We will look to keep this momentum going and hope to surpass that 3 million mark in the near future.”
Metro-North Railroad carried 122,504 riders on Monday, Sept. 13, the highest ridership since the pandemic began in March 2020. Monday’s record surpasses the railroad’s previous pandemic record which was set last Tuesday, Sept. 7, when the railroad carried 113,742. Last week Metro-North carried more than 100,000 riders every weekday after Labor Day.
Catherine Rinaldi, President of Metro-North Railroad, said, “We are excited to see so many customers returning to their weekday commutes now that Labor Day has passed and more people are returning to school and to the office. As the region continues to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Metro-North is eager to welcome even more of its weekday customers back, providing safe, frequent and reliable service on trains that are cleaner than ever.”
The Long Island Rail Road also broke a pandemic record within the past four days, on Friday, Sept. 10, carrying 150,895 customers. The figure is the highest since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and capped a week a strong week where LIRR also carried more than 135,000 customers every weekday after Labor Day.
Phil Eng, President of Long Island Rail Road, said, “Ridership on the LIRR post Labor Day reaffirms just how vital the LIRR is to Long Island and our economy. We have made great strides improving the reliability and safety of our service making travel on the railroad the most convenient way to get around Long Island. I thank our returning ridership as they have not only chosen the most environmentally friendly manner of travel but also the least stressful way of moving throughout Long Island and New York City.”
The MTA has undertaken unprecedented 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 95 percent 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.