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MTA Commuter Railroads Set Post-Pandemic Ridership Records on Same Day for Second Consecutive Week

Updated May 17, 2023 6:30 p.m.

LIRR and Metro-North Carry Combined 435,000 Riders on Tuesday, May 16 

Metro-North has Surpassed 200,000 Riders in a Single Weekday Four of the Past Six Weekdays Since Hitting Milestone May 9 

LIRR Has Carried At Least 200,000 Riders on 32 Times Since Grand Central Madison Opened for Full Service on Feb. 27 

OMNY Subway Taps Hit New Single-Day Record with 1.74 Million Taps 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad set post-pandemic ridership records on Tuesday, May 16. This is the second consecutive week both railroads hit records on the same day. The LIRR carried approximately 227,489 riders on Tuesday, marking the 32nd time the railroad has eclipsed 200,000 riders in a single day since the opening of full service at Grand Central Madison. 

Metro-North Railroad carried approximately 207,484 riders on Tuesday, marking the fourth time in the last six weekdays the railroad has surpassed 200,000 riders in a single day. Prior to hitting the 200,000-rider mark on May 9, the last time Metro-North carried at least 200,000 riders in a single day was March 6, 2020. 

“The momentum continues on both railroads, with 200,000 riders per day becoming the new norm,” said Metro-North Railroad President and LIRR Interim President Catherine Rinaldi. “Behind these numbers are the men and women of the LIRR and Metro-North, who have done tremendous work to help rebuild ridership since the pandemic by delivering the safe and reliable service our customers deserve.” 

The ridership records on both railroads come on the heels of their best month since 2020. Preliminary ridership statistics indicate that in April, both the LIRR and Metro-North carried a combined 9.46 million riders and posted their highest average weekday ridership since the pandemic began. 

On an average weekday in April, the LIRR carried 200,915 customers. Grand Central Madison has already passed major iconic facilities like Boston South Station and Chicago Union Station in the rankings of busiest commuter railroad facilities. On April 24, the LIRR reinstated full-time, year-round service at Mets-Willets Point station to encourage riders to take mass transit to Citi Field events and provide Queens residents with an alternative travel option.  

Metro-North carried 180,174 riders on an average weekday in April. On April 18, Metro-North reached a pandemic-era ridership record with 194,549 customers. The record was broken a day later, on April 19, when Metro-North carried 195,086 riders. The consecutive ridership records culminated in the railroad reaching its three-day ridership high since the pandemic of 193,111. 

OMNY Sets New Single-Day Record for Subway Taps 

The commuter railroad records were accompanied by an OMNY record in the subways. On Tuesday, May 16, OMNY, the Authority's contactless fare payment system, also set a single-day subway record with 1.742 taps, accounting for 43.6 percent of all paid subway rides. 

OMNY continues to grow in market share among New York City Transit customers, with the first one million tap day reached in April of 2022. The MTA reached the 500 million total OMNY tap milestone in September of 2022 when a customer tapped in at Grand Central Terminal. OMNY has now processed cards issued in 192 of the 195 countries that issue bank cards.     

OMNY customers now consistently comprise nearly half of all subway riders, with a 42.5 percent market share of paid rides. Nearly 100 percent of all OMNY transactions are made on customers' own personal devices or cards, making the MTA unique among North American transit systems.     

In October, OMNY was rolled out to Reduced-Fare customers, who can now make the switch from MetroCard to riding with their personal device or contactless card. Reduced-Fare customers can make the switch from MetroCard to OMNY seamlessly online with the OMNY digital assistant, which is available 24/7 at OMNY.info.