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ICYMI: Governor Hochul Announces MTA Systemwide Ridership Record

Updated September 15, 2022 5:00 p.m.
Ridership Surge and OMNY 500 Million Tap

Subways, Buses, Commuter Railroads and Paratransit Carried 5.6 Million New Yorkers on Wednesday September 14   

Subways Carried 3.7 Million New Yorkers on Wednesday, Highest Since Early 2020, Surpassing Record Set Last Week   

Buses Set 2022 Ridership Record with Preliminary Count of More Than 1.5 Million Riders on Tuesday   

Metro-North Railroad Set Ridership Record for Second Consecutive Day, Carrying More Than 181,600 Riders; LIRR Records Second Highest Ridership Day of 2022   

Records Come Same Week as OMNY Reaches a Half Billion Taps 

View Photos from Today's News Conference Here 

View Today's News Conference Here   

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority set a systemwide ridership record Wednesday, September 14, carrying more than 5.6 million riders. The subway and buses carried more than 5.2 million riders on Wednesday, both setting records. Subway ridership surpassed the previous record set on September 8, carrying 3,734,742 on Wednesday, a 28.5 percent increase from the comparable day in 2021. Bus ridership hit the 1.5 million-mark with a preliminary total of 1,523,000 riders, which is expected to rise by approximately 15 percent when the rider count is complete. 

"Our record ridership numbers are the latest indicator that New York's recovery is back on track, and we will continue pushing forward to build a better and stronger New York," Governor Hochul said. "Riders are swiping, tapping, and riding their way to New York's economic recovery, and we look forward to keeping this momentum going." 

The commuter railroads continued to show ridership growth. For the second consecutive day Metro-North Railroad set a ridership record, carrying more than 181,600 riders Wednesday, the highest since at least March 2020. The Long Island Rail Road carried over 200,000 riders on a weekday for the second time since March 2020 on Wednesday, carrying more than 202,700 riders. The preliminary total comes second to the record LIRR set last week on September 7. 

Access-A-Ride also reached a milestone of 28,000 scheduled trips on Wednesday, the highest since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Since schools reopened last week, Access-A-Ride trips have averaged 86 percent of pre-pandemic levels. 

MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, "I have heard people writing New York's obituary for almost my whole career, and I can tell you that we at the MTA are going to prove them wrong. These ridership numbers are on the higher end of our latest projections and show mass transit is moving in the right direction, and we're not stopping. While some form of work from home will surely continue, the surge in ridership that we are seeing says that back to the office is a meaningful trend." 

NYC Transit President Richard Davey said, "I have heard people writing NYs obit for almost my whole career, and I can tell you that we at the MTA are going to prove them wrong. One thing I've learned early in my tenure is New Yorkers understand the fastest, safest, most convenient way to get around the city. Anyone that has been in the system can feel it getting back to the hustle and bustle New York is known for. With the fall season approaching NYC Transit will continue to be there for customers getting them to school, work, and soon, playoff baseball games." 

Metro-North Railroad President and LIRR Interim President Catherine Rinaldi said, "It is nice to see customers returning in such numbers, as it speaks to the attractiveness of taking the railroad to move around the region. This ridership resurgence comes at a great time. The new TrainTime app has been downloaded 295,000 times, with 1.2 million users and 1.75 million tickets purchased through the app since its launch. We look forward to welcoming more riders back to the railroads as we head into the fall and the holiday season." 

The ridership records come as the Authority's contactless fare payment system, OMNY, celebrated a milestone. The 500 millionth OMNY tap occurred just before 3:00 p.m. on September 15 at Grand Central subway station on the 4-5-6 line when a rider named Debbie was returning home to Brooklyn from a work meeting in Midtown Manhattan as she tapped her phone on a turnstile, she was greeted by MTA workers who congratulated her for being the half billionth person to pay with OMNY. At a ceremony minutes later she was presented with a $100 pre-loaded OMNY card and OMNY-branded clothing in recognition of the milestone. 

MTA Acting Chief Customer Officer Shanifah Rieara said, "This milestone demonstrates what transit customers increasingly already know - OMNY is the best, fastest, and most convenient way to ride with New York City Transit. OMNY is becoming the preferred mode of payment for hundreds of thousands of customers every day on subways and buses. As we continue to roll out OMNY throughout the MTA system, we look forward to seeing more riders tapping their way around the city." 

Subway Rider Debbie who recorded the 500 millionth tap said, "I really appreciate being able to take the subway, being able to get to work and back home safely. And the convenience of using OMNY." 

OMNY, or One Metro New York, debuted to the public in 2019 as a pilot phase at 19 subway stations and on Staten Island buses. The rollout of the contactless system was completed in December of 2020, with all 472 subway stations and the entirety of the MTA's 5,800 bus fleet is now equipped with approximately 15,000 OMNY readers. 

The Authority launched the OMNY fare-capping pilot on subways and buses earlier this year. The fare-capping pilot includes a "Lucky 13" feature where, starting with the 13th ride of each week, every additional ride on subways or buses is free for the rest of that week. 

On the commuter rail, both LIRR and Metro-North continue to offer fare discount packages, and recently rolled out a new TrainTime app. TrainTime combined ticket purchasing with real-time train tracking, and capacity tracking, and has been well received by customers. Since its launch TrainTime has had 295,000 new downloads, 1.2 million users and over 1.75 million tickets have been purchased.