NEW YORK — The MTA is regularly seeing days where the subway is carrying more than 2 million riders, because of commuters like Ali Bajjaj, a nursing student and medical assistant.

“I go to school and I have a job, so I use it pretty much four times a day," Bajjaj said while at the Jackson Heights subway hub in Queens.

But he takes the subway for more than his commute.

“If I had to prefer, I would bike, but sometimes I want to get there faster, so you just hop on the train, it’s pretty easy," he said. ”I go to the city a lot, museums, Central Park, it’s been great for that.”

What You Need To Know

  • April 8 was the first day since the start of the pandemic the subway carried more than 2 million riders

  • The MTA reached a new 2.1 million daily ridership record on Friday

  • Ridership dropped by as much as 90% soon after the pandemic started

The coronavirus pandemic caused ridership to plunge 90%, and the MTA has been steadily climbing back as the city reopens, more people are vaccinated and the weather gets warmer.

April 8 was the first day since the start of the pandemic that subway ridership surpassed 2 million trips in a day.

While the subway carried essential workers throughout the pandemic, riders say they are taking trips outside of their commutes.

“Yes, sometimes when I go to the city, I take the train, too," commuter Jacky Kwedy said. “I go to the city just to shop around.”

The reason, she says: “I think the subway is more convenient and it’s fast.”

Ellie Musgrave took the subway after landing at LaGuardia Airport, where she arrived from a trip, seeing her parents for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

"I took a taxi to LaGuardia and it was something like $90 out of pocket. It was just between a rock and a hard place,” she said. “I've been taking the train for years, I’d rather take the train.”

As for worries about the coronavirus, Musgrave said, "I’m very lucky to have gotten a vaccine. A lot of people either don’t have the resources or just haven’t gotten the vaccine for whatever reason, but I feel comfortable doing it."


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