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Subway, LIRR, Metro-North Ridership Reach New Pandemic Records

Updated May 17, 2021 6:15 p.m.

Straphangers Continue to Return to System; Figures Expected to Continue to Rise as Subways Run 24/7, New York Reopens and Weather Improves

Subway Ridership Approached 2.3 Million on May 14 While LIRR Total Close to 105,000 and Metro-North Tops 85,000

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that the New York City Subway, Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad all achieved pandemic ridership records on May 14, with 2,265,489 trips on the New York City subway, 104,885 on the Long Island Rail Road, and 85,684 on Metro-North Railroad that day. These figures mark the highest single-day ridership totals for those agencies since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic for both commuter railroads and the subway system.
Nearly 1.2 million customers rode the bus on May 14, with the 1,188,284 ridership total not far off from the pandemic high of 1,245,629 from May 6. Altogether, more than 3.4 million riders used New York City Transit’s subways and buses on Friday.

“We want to build on the momentum we’re seeing in ridership,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye. “Just this past Friday, we hit another pandemic-high on the subways, Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North. The subways that day alone served more than 2.26 million people—and that was before we restored 24/7 service. With that and the beautiful weather this week, I’m sure that number will get even higher. As a lifelong New Yorker, I’m bullish on New York. I have no doubt that our post-pandemic recovery will be robust and that we will come back better than ever.”
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. 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 subway 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 difficult days in New York City history.