Subway sets ridership records on NYC Marathon weekend

Marathon Weekend Ridership
Sunday’s marathon brought business to the NYC subway.
Photo Marc A. Hermann, MTA

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday announced that the subway reached 2.11 million riders on Sunday, the day of the 51st New York City Marathon. This number surpassed the previous pandemic-era Sunday ridership record set on June 26 of 2.01 million and 84% of the pre-pandemic baseline for the comparable second Sunday of November in 2019.

The ridership was 12% more than last year’s marathon Sunday subway ridership of 1.89 million, and 13% more than the previous Sunday ridership of 1.88 million.

“With record-setting weekend ridership in each of the last three weeks, our public transit’s recovery from the darkest days of the pandemic is staying on track,” Hochul said. “Commuters, students, tourists and marathon runners all know the best way to get around New York City is our world-class transit system. Riders are continuing to come back to the subway, and we’re investing in cops, cameras and care to ensure our riders get the best possible experience throughout the system.”

The record-breaking Sunday was preceded by yet another Saturday post-pandemic record. On the eve of the NYC Marathon, 2.45 million people rode the subway, surpassing last Saturday’s record of 2.44 million. In addition to the third straight record-day on the subways Saturday, paratransit also set a record. On Saturday, paratransit carried 100% of its pre-pandemic baseline with 16,800 scheduled trips.

The records come on the day that MTA officials had announced plans to reduce planned maintenance-related service changes in the subway system to ensure New Yorkers could move around the city with minimal disruptions on marathon Sunday.

“This city and region are built on the success of mass transit,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “You always hear me say it’s like air and water for New Yorkers, but it’s true. I never doubted the NYC Transit team would get it done. Big weekends like this are what New York is all about. New York City’s comeback is alive and well. Anyone who was out on the street or in the subway yesterday could feel the energy and excitement.”

Jose LaSalle, NYC Transit weekend subway czar, said subway crews were especially attuned to make sure the only delays that took place Sunday were brief to make sure people could get to the starting line or across the city to watch loved ones run the race. Though runners faced heat and humidity on the streets, things ran smoothly underground, he added.

“The best way to travel through New York City on Marathon Sunday is on the subway, and New York City Transit planned ahead to minimize planned service changes due to track work on a projected busy Sunday for the Transit system, and these ridership results show the decision was worth it,” NYC Transit President Richard Davey said. “The reduction in planned service changes helped encourage ridership, and it also means that those who rode the system had a faster and more reliable trip.”

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