How the MTA has adapted to the pandemic impact to keep riders safe
Millions of New Yorkers rely on the MTA every day. Whether a commuter takes the subway or the bus, changes were seen during their commute this winter.
MTA data shows weekday levels on subways in early December reached nearly 60% of the ridership before COVID, even recording a pandemic-era record of 3.44 million riders on Dec. 9.
However, the transit system was not immune to the Omicron variant. On Jan. 7, subway ridership dropped to 39% of its pre-pandemic levels. Yet with positive signs that the Omicron variant has passed its peak in New York City, that level is now back up to 50%.
"It's moved down but in the last week it has dramatically started to come up again," says MTA Acting Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber.
Before Omicron, Lieber says bus ridership was well in excess of 60% of its pre-pandemic levels. Yet buses were also impacted by Omicron, seeing their levels drop to 41% two weeks ago. However, the MTA remains optimistic these numbers will bounce back too.
"Ridership, like everything during Omicron, subsided a bit on buses but buses have been the workhorse of our system right through COVID," Lieber says.
As ridership looks poised to increase once again, the MTA affirms their commitment to a clean and safe riding experience for all new Yorkers. MTA workers deep clean and disinfect all stations and vehicles. The MTA also says they are employing high tech strategies such as ultraviolet light and innovative air filters - all in the battle against Omicron or whatever COVID variant may come next.