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    Thursday, June 20, 2024

    NYC subway ridership hits 4 million for the first time since March 2020

    A passenger looks out onto the platform while riding a northbound subway train at the 36th Street subway station in New York City, April 13, 2022. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

    New York City's subway system tallied 4 million rides on Thursday, a record high since the onset of the pandemic for the nation's largest transit system.

    It's the first time the subway network served at least 4 million rides in one day after usage fell by as much as 90% in 2020, the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement on Friday from New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. While the total remains well below the pre-pandemic weekday average of 5.5 million rides, when most workers were in the office five days a week, the threshold marks a milestone in the city's recovery.

    The last time the subways had more than 4 million riders was March 12, 2020, according to the statement.

    "The MTA is the lifeblood of this city, and New York State has made critical investments in our subways to improve the rider experience," Hochul said in a statement. "Surpassing four million riders for the first time since the start of the pandemic is a testament to the resiliency of New Yorkers and the importance of supporting the nation's largest transit system."

    The state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority oversees New York City's subways, buses and commuter rails. It needs more riders as sluggish farebox collections created a $600 million budget gap this year that's expected to grow to $3 billion in 2025. While the transit provider received billions in federal coronavirus aid to cover lost farebox revenue, those funds are set to run out by 2026.

    The MTA is waiting for Hochul and state legislators to resolve the state's overdue budget. That spending plan is expected to boost funding for the MTA and help close its projected deficits.

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