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Subway, Bus, LIRR, Metro-North Ridership Reaches New Pandemic Record

Updated May 10, 2021 3:00 p.m.

Straphangers Returning to System Ahead of 24/7 Subway Reopening on May 17

Subway Tops 2.2 Million Rides in One Day; Buses Top 1.2 Million

LIRR Tops 100,000 Riders; Metro-North Tops 83,000


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that the New York City Subway, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad have reached pandemic ridership records, with 2,239,500 trips on the New York City Subway (including 3,823 on the Staten Island Railway), 101,600 LIRR, and 83,100 Metro-North trips recorded on Friday, May 7. New York City Buses reached a pandemic high one day earlier, on Thursday, May 6, of 1,245,629.  These are the highest single-day ridership totals since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York, and for buses, since front-door boarding resumed on Aug. 31. 

The LIRR total is the first time the LIRR has reached more than 100,000 trips in one day.  Subway ridership surpassed the 2 million mark on April 9.  

“Growing ridership across the MTA is good news for New York,” said MTA Chairman Patrick Foye. “It is an indicator that the region’s recovery from the pandemic is gaining strength.”  

"People are coming back which is great news for New York City Transit,” said Sarah Feinberg, NYC Transit Interim President, “but we need to continue to do all we can to get back to our pre-pandemic ridership levels.” 

“Throughout the pandemic, buses continued to have the strongest relative ridership numbers,” said Craig Cipriano, President of the MTA Bus Company. “Our transit heroes work hard every day to provide the best service possible, and I’m glad to see that more and more New Yorkers are returning to the bus.” 

“As the weather improves and sporting events and shows return to New York, we are excited to see our ridership grow,” said Phil Eng, President of the Long Island Rail Road. “And with the recent additions to our LIRR TrainTime app, including real-time seating and accessibility information, we are providing riders with as much information about their ride as possible.” 

“Metro-North is seeing increasing ridership in concert with the reopening of the Hudson Valley,” said Catherine Rinaldi, President of Metro-North Railroad. “We’re predicting further ridership growth in the weeks ahead thanks in part to Hudson Valley Restaurant Week and the start of warm weather renewing interest in some of the best hiking in the region.” 

The MTA has undertaken unprecedented cleaning and disinfecting protocols in the year since the pandemic began to ensure the system 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. Mask usage in the system remains high, with more than 98% of customers wearing a mask when riding mass transit. The MTA also enhanced its Live Subway Map to allow riders to find vaccination sites throughout the city.  

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. The low point of bus ridership was 278,000 on Sunday, April 12, 2020. Average weekday ridership in April 2020 was 463,763. 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 troubling days in New York City history.