More people used public transit in the New York area on Wednesday than on any other day since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, transit officials said Thursday.
Subways, buses, Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road all set pandemic-era single-day records, MTA CEO Janno Lieber said in an announcement in the aftermath. noon at Grand Central Terminal.
“The traffic is coming back. In fact, traffic is increasing, and that’s an indication that New York is coming back strong,” Lieber said.
“The subways carried more than 3.7 million people yesterday,” he said. “This is the first time we’ve reached this level, and it’s the highest since March 2020, the start of COVID.”
The 5.6 million people who took public transit Wednesday included the 3.7 million subway riders, as well as more than 384,000 Metro-North and LIRR commuters, the MTA said.
City buses, meanwhile, set a daily ridership record on Tuesday — 1.5 million passengers.
The ridership bonanza is welcome news for Lieber, whose $19 billion-a-year budget has been starved by low ridership.
The federal government has contributed $15 billion, but officials have warned the system will need more money if ridership does not improve.
Wednesday’s 3,742,475 subway rides were just 62.9% of pre-COVID ridership, according to MTA figures.
Lieber acknowledged Thursday that working remotely has hurt the MTA’s long-term finances, but said the surge in ridership was cause for optimism.
“I worked at the World Trade Center for 14 years, so I’ve heard New Yorkers – not New Yorkers, but a lot of other people, in general – write the New York obituary for most of my life. professional,” he said.
“We at the MTA are here to prove them wrong.”
New York Post