1. Home
  2. Press Releases
  3. NYC Subway, LIRR, Metro-North Break Pandemic Ridership Records on Consecutive Days

NYC Subway, LIRR, Metro-North Break Pandemic Ridership Records on Consecutive Days

Updated June 22, 2021 3:45 p.m.

Records Set on Friday, June 18, with 2.57 Million Subway Riders, 122,800 on LIRR and 104,300 on Metro-North 

Ridership Records Broken Wednesday, June 16, Thursday, June 17, and Friday, June 18


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that the New York City Subway, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad broke pandemic-era ridership records on consecutive days last week. The streak culminated on Friday, June 18, with the subways carrying 2.57 million riders, the LIRR carrying 122,848 customers, and Metro-North carrying 104,304 customers – the first time Metro-North has surpassed 100,000 riders since the start of the pandemic.

Combined subway and bus ridership of more than 3.7 million is close to 50% of pre-pandemic levels.

“The subway’s ridership return continues to gather momentum,” said Sarah Feinberg, Interim President of MTA New York City Transit. “The subway is essential to New York, and higher ridership is the surest sign of New York’s post-pandemic recovery.”

“Our dedicated employees are working hard to provide the cleanest, safest and most reliable service possible,” said Demetrius Crichlow, Executive Vice President of Subways for MTA New York City Transit. “As traffic congestion returns to the streets and the temperatures rise, riders will appreciate the speed and comfort of travel on the subway now as much as ever.”

“More customers coming back to the LIRR is a vote of confidence in the strides we have made to improve service reliability, system cleanliness and availability of real-time traveler information,” said Phil Eng, President of MTA Long Island Rail Road. “Roads are more crowded than ever. Taking the train is smart, convenient and less stressful than driving. As ridership continues to return, not only is it environmentally friendly, but it means the economy is coming back.”

“Ridership records coming now during the start of the summer, traditionally a less busy time for office workers, underscores the fact that Metro-North isn’t a traditional ‘commuter’ railroad,” said Catherine Rinaldi, President of MTA Metro-North Railroad. “Metro-North is a convenient way to make leisure and discretionary trips around our region and a great way to beat traffic and have a relaxing ride.”

“We do our best to keep our customers safe and traffic flowing smoothly at our facilities,” said Daniel F. DeCrescenzo Jr., President of MTA Bridges and Tunnels. “But with traffic at nearly 100% of pre-pandemic levels it makes good sense to ride NYC Transit or the railroads.”

Subways broke records on three consecutive days last week, carrying 2.52 million riders on Wednesday, June 16, 2.55 million on Thursday, June 17, and the 2.57 million who rode on Friday, June 18. The Long Island Rail Road likewise set records for three consecutive days last week, carrying 119,205 riders on June 16 and then 121,580 on June 17 before carrying 122,848 riders on June 18. Metro-North also set consecutive records last week, carrying a record 98,435 riders on Thursday, June 17, which stood as the pandemic-era record before being broken by the 104,304 who rode on Friday.

In a testament that increasing public transportation ridership is happening in tandem with increasing traffic volumes, MTA Bridges and Tunnels also shattered its own consecutive records last week. The MTA’s network of nine bridges and tunnels carried 973,485 vehicles on Thursday, June 17, and 989,296 on June 18, the highest that figure has been since the start of the pandemic, equating with 96.4% of the comparable pre-pandemic figure.

The MTA has undertaken unprecedented cleaning and disinfecting protocols in the year since the pandemic began to ensure that the system is as safe as possible for its customers. The Authority has also rolled out robust public education campaigns and issued millions of masks to its customers. The MTA is hosting public vaccination hubs at Grand Central and Penn Station.
Prior to the pandemic, average weekday ridership totals routinely exceeded 5.5 million in the subway system. That figure fell by more than 90% to a low of roughly 300,000 daily trips last April as the number of COVID-19 cases peaked in the New York City 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.