Gov. Kathy Hochul announces that the New York City Subway set a new record for pandemic-era single-day ridership on Thursday, May 5, carrying 3,497,122 riders. According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, this record beats the previous pandemic-era record set on December 9, 2021 when the subway carried 3.42 million and surpasses a pre-pandemic ridership figure of 3.491 million on the subway observed on March 13, 2020.
“As we continue our comeback from the pandemic and remain laser-focused on making our subways safer, we are turning the corner on subway ridership,” Governor Hochul said. “The subway is the lifeblood of New York City and this new milestone sends a strong message that New York is back and better than ever.”
To encourage ridership, the MTA has implemented a new fare-capping pilot program that make fares more affordable and flexible. The cap on weekly fares through the OMNY contactless payment system includes a “Lucky 13” feature, in which starting with the 13th ride of each week, every additional ride on subways or buses is free for the rest of that week.
Additionally, the MTA continues its unprecedented cleaning and disinfecting protocols to ensure that the system is as safe as possible for its customers.
MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, “New Yorkers are coming back to the system because mass transit is the best way to move around the city and with our OMNY fare-capping options using the system has never been easier. In partnership with the Governor, Mayor and NYPD, we are addressing safety issues and riders are starting to respond.”
New York City Transit President Richard Davey said, “New York City Transit is working around the clock to improve service, upgrade the system, and encourage riders to come back to public transit. Optimal service, increasing frequency of trains, and maintaining strong on-time performance are our main focuses as we continue to hire train operators and bolster the transit system for the returning ridership. New Yorkers are returning to public transit because they know it is the most efficient, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective way to move around the city.”
MTA Chief Customer Officer Sarah Meyer said, “These growing ridership numbers show that New Yorkers are ready for a post-pandemic future for our city and that means returning to the public transportation system. We continue to listen to the voices of our customers by addressing their concerns, improving service, and encouraging riders to tap their phones or payment cards for a swift journey to their destination.”
Prior to the pandemic, average weekday ridership totals routinely exceeded 5.5 million in the subway system. That figure fell by 95 percent to a low of roughly 300,000 daily trips in April 2020 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.