MTA ridership continues to rebound amid pandemic, agency launches DineAWAY campaign to help restaurants

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — While still not at pre-pandemic levels, subway ridership continues to set new highs in the push to get back to normal.

Metro ridership exceeded 3.6 million on Wednesday, beating a previous record set the day before May 17, of 3.535 million.

Additionally, on Tuesday, May 17, pandemic-era ridership records were set on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, with the LIRR recording 182,700 rides and the Metro-North 162,100.

Each of those numbers tops pandemic-era records set in recent weeks and are the highest totals since March 2020.

“This week, New York reached a milestone in transit ridership, one of the most encouraging indicators that our return from COVID is on track,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Public transportation systems are the lifeblood of New York City, and we will continue to do everything in our power to bring riders back, helping to drive our economic recovery.”

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Footfall is stuck at about 60% of what it was before the city shut down, MTA president and CEO Janno Lieber said, adding that some of that is office workers still working from home.

“This week’s record ridership on our commuter railroads and the subway is just the latest evidence that New York City’s comeback is fueled by public transit,” he said. “We are committed to bringing passengers back with the new OMNY “Lucky 13” weekly unlimited and other fare reduction options, as well as frequent and reliable service, and we look forward to welcoming more New Yorkers to the public transport in the weeks and months to come.”

Still, he admits that service on some of the commuter rail lines isn’t what it used to be.

He said the agency would eventually increase service, but wouldn’t say when, particularly on the Port Washington line.

Rail and subway ridership has steadily grown as major corporations began bringing employees back to the office from March, and the highest four days of pandemic-era ridership in metro were all recorded in May 2022. Both railways have reached new pandemic-era ridership heights in each of the past 3 weeks.

Officials believe the numbers will continue to rise, and they are looking for new ways to help customers explore local restaurants and neighborhoods.

One such initiative is the recently announced DineAWAY campaign, an extension of the existing MTAAway, which helps cyclists plan day trips without taking a car.

The MTA has partnered with the James Beard Foundation to get New Yorkers on subways, buses and commuter trains for an easy ride to some of the city’s best foodie neighborhoods and delicious destinations near the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad.

DineAWAY is a joint campaign designed to bring passengers back to the MTA, while supporting independent restaurants in the heart of New York’s boroughs and surrounding neighborhoods.

COVID-19 has affected the restaurant industry in unprecedented ways, with many local businesses still struggling to reach pre-pandemic levels.

By participating in the DineAWAY campaign, New Yorkers and visitors from around the world are encouraged to use public transportation to enjoy culinary and cultural experiences unmatched in the region, while supporting ongoing efforts to rebuild the food industry. and drinks.

“MTAAway’s DineAWAY program brings together everything New Yorkers need to plan a day in a new neighborhood with their friends and family in one place,” said Sarah Meyer, Chief Customer Officer of MTA. “MTA Away gives you a comprehensive guide to local destinations you might never have thought of visiting, and it connects you to our fantastic trip planner. Taking our buses and trains takes the stress out of finding parking – it’s good for the planet and even better for your wallet.”

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Participating neighborhoods and leaders include, but are not limited to:
–Harlem with JJ Johnson, FIELDTRIP
–Astoria with Beatrice Ajaero, Nneji
–Park Slope with Tonya Hopkins, Good Wine
–Sunnyside/Long Island City with Nestor Ducan, Rincon Melania

For more information, neighborhood guides with restaurant suggestions, chef profiles and hiking guides with fantastic food and drink options, visit


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