Full Overnight Subway Service Resumed for First Time Since May 6, 2020; Subway Ridership Surpassed 2.2 Million Passengers Per Day Earlier This Month
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) leadership and frontline workers rang the New York Stock Exchange opening bell today, celebrating the return to 24-hour subway service that occurred earlier in the day.
Participants included MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye, NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg, MTA Bus President Craig Cipriano, MTA Chief Customer Officer Sarah Meyer, LIRR President Phil Eng, Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi, and frontline MTA employees representing the tens of thousands of colleagues who are transporting essential workers, and now all New Yorkers, throughout the pandemic.
"An invitation to ring the bell underscores the importance of this moment and of mass transit in general to the regional economy,” said Sarah Feinberg, Interim President of NYC Transit, said in a news conference after the bell ringing today. "I’m not sure what says more about New York coming back and the economy coming back and the city coming back, than both resuming 24/7 operation and ringing the bell this morning. Of course 24/7 subway service has practical benefits for thousands of New Yorkers who rely on us to get around in the late night hours. The transit system is really a mirror of the city’s vitality, and since New York City is the city that never sleeps, it needs a subway to match so obviously this is a very proud day for us. I want to thank the incredible Transit workforce and the rest of the MTA workforce for everything they’ve done to get us to this point. And I want to give a shout out to all the heroic essential workers from across MTA and across the city, who it is our great honor to serve; they are truly our heroes.”
The subway system was closed overnight for the first time in the agency’s 116 years, other than for storms or labor disruptions, on May 6, 2020, to allow the Authority to undertake an unprecedented cleaning regimen to protect employees and customers from COVID-19. When it began, the closure covered 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.; on February 15 Governor Cuomo announced a partial resumption of overnight service, reducing the overnight closure in half, from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.
The resumption of overnight subway service comes as subway ridership is trending upward towards a recovery. On Friday, March 12 subway ridership hit the 1.9 million mark for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago. On April 9, subway ridership surpassed the 2 million mark, and on Monday, May 7 surpassed the 2.2 million riders, a new single-day record. The news comes following the Authority's multifaceted communications and marketing #TaketheTrain and #TaketheBus campaigns aimed at bringing customers back to the system, which was formally announced on May 16.