MTA subway, bus, LIRR, Metro-North ridership reaches new pandemic record

May 11, 2021
The subway topped 2.2 million rides in one day, with buses topping 1.2 million rides. 

Pandemic ridership records were reached May 7 on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Subway, Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro-North Railroad.  

“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.”   

A total of 2,239,500 trips were recorded on the subway, 101,600 trips on LIRR and 83,100 trips on Metro-North.  

"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.” 

New York City Buses reached a pandemic high one day earlier, recording 1,245,629 trips.  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.  

“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.” 

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

“As the weather improves and sporting events and shows return to New York, we are excited to see our ridership grow,” said Phil Eng, LIRR president. “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,” added Catherine Rinaldi, president of Metro-North. “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.”  

Prior to the pandemic, MTA says average weekday ridership totals routinely exceeded 5.5 million in the subway system. That figure fell by more than 90 percent 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 April 12, 2020. Average weekday ridership in April 2020 was 463,763.