By Scott Etkin
The way New Yorkers ride the subway has changed since the start of the pandemic, and as a result the MTA is adjusting the service on some of its lines. Beginning in June 2023, the MTA plans to rebalance the allocation of trains by “increasing scheduled trips on the weekends and by modifying Monday and Friday scheduled service, where ridership recovery has shown to be the slowest,” the MTA announced this week.
The proposed service changes affect 10 of the subway’s 36 lines, including a few that go through the Upper West Side.
Specifically, NYC Transit is expected to make an earlier start to the A and C weekday rush-hour service.
“To make these additional scheduled trips possible,” according to the announcement, NYC Transit will make reductions to scheduled trips on Mondays and Fridays on the 1 line. Mondays and Fridays tend to have lower ridership since many companies have adopted more flexible hybrid work schedules.
Information on the service changes to other subway lines is available here.
Overall, levels of daily subway ridership are currently around 60% to 70% of what they were before the pandemic started, according to the MTA’s numbers. In 2021, annual total ridership was 45% of what it was in 2019. In 2020, annual total ridership was 38% of what it was the year before. At the very start of the pandemic, ridership dropped down to around 10% to 25% of normal levels.
Despite ridership still being significantly lower than pre-Covid averages, earlier this month the MTA announced subway ridership hit a record since the start of the pandemic. 3.93 million riders traveled on the subway on December 8th, a mark that had not been reached since March 2020.
Before the pandemic, more than 5.5 million riders regularly used the subway every day on average.