1. Home
  2. Press Releases
  3. MTA Welcomes Students Back to School

MTA Welcomes Students Back to School

Updated September 7, 2022 8:15 p.m.

Authority Highlights Extra Bus Service, Fare Discounts, Ridership Update and Travel Tips 

Bus Ambassadors Return to Guide New Riders Through Recently Redesigned Local Bronx Bus Network  

Watch Video About Student MetroCards That Are Available for K-12 Students 


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced a ridership update on post-Labor Day travel and welcomed students back for the beginning of a new school year reminding riders about free student MetroCards issued by the New York City Department of Education, travel tips, fare discounts, and extra bus services – including the return of Bronx bus ambassadors for the first few days of school to assist riders with navigating the borough's newly redesigned local bus network.  


Despite rainy weather the day after Labor Day, subways and buses carried 4.2 million riders on Sept. 6. 

  • Subways and buses carried a combined 4,207,281 riders, a 25.9% increase from the day after Labor Day in 2021 and a 62.3% increase over the day after Labor Day in 2020.  
  • Paratransit provided 24,963 trips, a 18.1% increase over the day after Labor Day in 2021 and a 26.0% increase over the day after Labor Day in 2020.  

Ridership gains were even larger on the commuter rails. Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad each carried approximately 100,000 more riders on Sept. 6 than the comparative day in 2020.  

  • LIRR carried 190,260 riders, a 38.3% increase over the day after Labor Day in 2021, and a 110.0% increase over the day after Labor Day in 2020.  
  • Metro-North Railroad showed similar ridership levels, carrying 164,255 riders on Sept. 6, a 44.5% increase over the day after Labor Day in 2021 and a 159.5% increase over the day after Labor Day in 2020.  

“All MTA agencies saw a post-Labor Day increase in ridership compared to last year, showing that as people are returning to school and to work, they taking mass transit to get there,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “Whether these riders are returning part-time or full-time, we look forward to welcoming back even more New Yorkers.” 

“We’re excited to kick off the beginning of a new school year by welcoming both thousands of students back to school and more office workers to the transit system,” said New York City Transit President Richard Davey. “NYC Transit has been preparing for the region to return to more frequent weekday commuting with shorter wait times, reliable service and cleaner stations.” 

“Whether you are a student, teacher, caregiver, or anyone else whose schedule revolves around the school year, we want everyone to be informed as much as possible and take advantage of what the MTA has to offer,” said MTA Acting Chief Customer Officer and Senior Advisor for Communications and Policy Shanifah Rieara. “This includes fare discounts, MTA Away packages that offer deals for learning adventures and the best way to keep informed of your everyday trips.”   

Student MetroCard and Travel Tips  

Free student MetroCards are issued by New York City schools to students from Kindergarten to 12th  grade to travel to and from school on subway and bus. Students may only use the MetroCards on school days between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.  Learn more about getting a student MetroCard here

Customers are advised to download the MYmta app for real-time arrival and schedule information for subway and bus, and the TrainTime app for Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad. 

Recently, the MTA announced the launch of an upgraded app that combined the functionality of the MTA eTix app to purchase tickets and both apps for the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad. The new TrainTime app is a one-stop app for commuter rail customers, offering the convenience to plan your trip, purchase tickets, track your train with real-time location data, choose an emptier car with seat availability tracking technology, and an option to speak with a customer service representative via an in-app chat feature – all in one location.  

Bus Service 

In preparation for the new school year, the MTA is deploying extra buses, beginning tomorrow, Sept. 8, across all five boroughs on weekdays for the rest of the school year. Additionally, the MTA is bringing back its customer ambassador program in the Bronx for the first four days of school on Sept. 8, 9, 12, and 13.  

In June, the MTA implemented the Bronx Local Bus Network Redesign consisting of thirteen modified routes, two brand new routes, and changes on most routes to bus stops and schedules. MTA personnel will staff 18 locations throughout the Bronx between 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to ensure riders can navigate the new local bus network with confidence. Visit the MTA’s Back-to-School homepage for a list of bus stops that will be staffed by a Bronx bus ambassador and bus lines with added service. 

Fare Discounts 

In February, the MTA expanded its fare options and discounts, including the introduction of fare-capping. Customers who tap and go with the contactless fare payment system, OMNY, will be charged the standard $2.75 pay-per-ride fare for their first 12 trips, starting every Monday. Any additional trips through the following Sunday would be free, also known and promoted as the “Lucky 13” feature.   

Additionally, the announcement included commuter railroad benefits:  

  • Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road CityTicket costs $5 and is good for one-way travel during off peak hours that begins and ends within New York City. Customers can buy a CityTicket at a ticket office, a ticket machine, or on the TrainTime app. 
  • Metro-North Railroad and LIRR 20-trip peak ticket offers 20 percent off comparable 20-peak one-way fares. These tickets are valid for 60 days.  
  • Monthly commuter railroad tickets, which were already discounted between 48 percent and 61 percent off comparable peak tickets, are discounted by an additional 10 percent.