As New York City enters Phase 2 reopening, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that on Friday, June 19, weekday combined ridership on New York City subways and buses surpassed 2 million for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. While a significant increase since the start of the pandemic, the figure represents a decline of 74% from normal weekday ridership levels of 7.6 million combined riders. LIRR ridership is down 85% from normal levels and Metro-North is down 87%.
The MTA has prepared its system for further ridership gains through increased service, unprecedented, around-the-clock cleaning and disinfecting, and by requiring all customers and employees wear masks. With mask compliance at 95%, the MTA continues to distribute 2 million masks that were contributed by the State and the City. Approximately 760 New York City School Safety Agents who have been positioned across subway stations to distribute masks will maintain their existing coverage with additional masks available at station booths.
Impending Financial Calamity
The MTA has drawn down $2.9 billion of the allocation of funding it received in the March Federal CARES funding, or about 73% of its allocation. The MTA expects to exhaust its remaining CARES funding in July.
“The MTA is facing the most acute financial crisis in its history,” said MTA Chief Financial Officer Bob Foran. “With more than 70% of the CARES funding provided in the first relief package drawn down, and all CARES funding expected to be exhausted early next month, our finances are on life support. We need the Senate to take action now and follow the House of Representatives’ leadership on continued pandemic funding. As the MTA is the lifeblood of New York and the nation’s economy – our financial health will be critical to the country’s economic recovery. New York is also the top donor state in the nation providing $29 billion more in funding than we get back from the federal government. We urge the Senate to come back to Washington, do its job and provide another $3.9 billion in funding to the MTA now to cover the rest of 2020.”
Ridership and Service Details
New York City Transit
Bus ridership surpassed 1 million for the first time on Friday, June 19, with ridership of 1,033,000. The MTA’s normal average weekday bus ridership ranges between 2.1 and 2.5 million.
Bus service levels have been operating at regular weekday/closed school service levels in Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island since New York City’s Phase 1 reopening on June 8. In Manhattan, the MTA is increasing service to 90 on four Select Bus Service routes, the M15, M23, M34 and M60. These increases raise the overall Manhattan bus service level to 80% of normal, from 75% as of the Phase 1 reopening on June 8.
Since May 1 ridership on the New York City Subway has gradually increased, reaching nearly 985,000 as of Friday, June 19, which represents a decline of 83% from the normal average weekday of approximately 5.5 million. Subways returned regular weekday service on June 8 except for the continuing closure of the system between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. for disinfecting and cleaning.
Long Island Rail Road
The LIRR introduced new timetables on June 8 that increase service to 90% of normal weekday service. Service details can be found on the MYmta and LIRR TrainTime apps, and via MTA.info. Off-peak fares continue to remain in effect at all times.
The Long Island Rail Road continues to hand out masks to customers and has made hand sanitizer stations available throughout the system.
To help foster social distancing as the LIRR welcomes customers back, it has made car-by-car seating availability information available in real-time on the recently updated LIRR TrainTime app.
-via Press Release