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MTA Announces Subways and Buses Set Single-Week Pandemic Ridership Record

New York City Transit
Updated May 17, 2022 9:15 p.m.

Nearly 24 Million New Yorkers Rode the Subway or Bus in Second Week of May for the Highest Single-Week Total Since Pandemic Began in March 2020 

Subways Carried Over 16.6 Million Riders, Buses 7.3 Million, and Staten Island Railway Over 33,000 


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that 23,981,064 New Yorkers took the train or bus last week, setting a pandemic-era record for a single work week. Between Monday May 9 and Friday May 13, the subway recorded more than 16.6 million rides, buses recorded 7.3 million rides, and Staten Island Railway over 33,000 rides. 

The ridership figures reflect the third time in the past six weeks NYC Transit has surpassed 23 million rides in a work week. In April, subways, buses and Staten Island Railway recorded the two best work weeks of 2022, also the fourth and fifth best work weeks since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The previous record came during the week of April 25, which ranks as the fourth best week for ridership since the pandemic, with 23,699,401 recorded rides. At that time, that record trailed only the week of November 15, 2021, and the week of December 6, 2021, when NYC Transit ridership was recorded at 23,951,307 and 23,847,778 respectively. 

MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, “This record week follows a strong April when we had two weeks that ranked among the best single-week totals for subway and bus ridership since the pandemic began. The message from New Yorkers is clear: as we come back, we are taking mass transit.” 

New York City Transit President Richard Davey said, "There is no doubt about it, New Yorkers remember the best way to get around the city; by continuing to focus on cleanliness, reliability and customer service records will continue to be broken.” 

MTA Chief Customer Officer Sarah Meyer said, “These trends prove that mass transit is the easiest, fastest and cheapest way around the city.  With incentives like the OMNY “Lucky 13” to encourage riders to use the system more, combined with the warm weather, we are looking forward to breaking more records.” 

Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road last week also experienced record ridership. On Tuesday, May 10, Metro-North carried an estimated 158,798 riders, 61 percent of the 2019 daily average. On Wednesday, May 11, the LIRR carried an estimated 178,100 riders, which was 62 percent of the 2019 daily average. The last time either railroad surpassed this level of ridership was March 12, 2020. 

The increase in ridership across the agencies come as major companies began to bring employees back to the office starting in March, and followed the rollout of a series of pilot fare programs designed to make fares more affordable and more flexible. On February 28, the Authority launched a fare-capping pilot through its contactless fare payment system OMNY that put a cap on weekly subway and bus fares. 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. 

To encourage commuter railroad customers to return, the Authority introduced discount fare  packages including the debut of a new 20-trip ticket to reflect hybrid work schedules. The 20-trip offers riders 20 percent off comparable 20-peak one-way fares when purchased through MTA eTix or at a ticket window and are valid for 60 days. 

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 in April 2020 as the number of COVID-19 cases peaked in the New York City metropolitan 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.