New York subway daily ridership reaches 2.5 million, breaking pandemic-era record

June 18, 2021
The milestone extends a string of previous records set within recent weeks.

Ridership on the New York City subway reached 44 percent of pre-pandemic era ridership, carrying more than 2.5 million passengers—the highest number since COVID-19 hit New York in March 2020. 

The milestone extends a string of previous records set within recent weeks: 2.4 million riders on June 10; 2.38 million riders on June 9; 2.35 million riders on May 27; 2.27 million on May 14; and 2.24 million on May 7.  

“The subway is a reflection of New York City at large, and more people moving around means more people are taking the subway,” said Demetrius Crichlow, executive vice president of Subways for Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit. “To hit the 2.5 million mark at the start of the summer only makes us more optimistic about hitting major ridership milestones and reaching a full recovery.”   

The MTA says it 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 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 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. 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.