Mass Transit is Making a Comeback, but NYers Show a Preference for Vehicles

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For the first time since the pandemic hit, turnstiles at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority topped 1 million entries each day this week. Ridership on subways is still 80 percent below the level last year, as per the MTA data from Saturday. Photo Credit: AP
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By: Ilana Siyance

Good News New Yorkers!  Traffic is back!   After months of the Covid-19 related shutdown, which forced the city that never sleeps into a long slumber, the roads and subways are once again filled with commuters.  New York City began its phased reopening on June 8, and entered phase 2 one week ago on Monday with offices and some retail stores opening up.  For the first time since the pandemic hit, turnstiles at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority topped 1 million entries each day this week. Ridership on subways is still 80 percent below the level last year, as per the MTA data from Saturday.

As reported by Crain’s NY, driving conditions are also etching back toward normal. This week, traffic on bridges and tunnels was only down about 20 percent compared to last year.   Further, vehicle traffic on three of the four East River crossings is approaching normal.   For those who have been missing 5 p.m. rush hour, rest assured, traffic is steadily picking up.  Now, congestion is just approximately 35 to 45 percent less than last year’s average, as per data from TomTom.

Commuting into the city via train is also picking up, but at a slower pace– revealing that New Yorkers may prefer driving in for now, as it offers more social distancing than public transportation.  Still, the number of riders on trains is increasing weekly.  The 34th Street-Herald Square station recorded the biggest uptick, boasting a 46 percent increase over the first week of reopening. Turnstile entries to PATH trains to New Jersey, rose 33 percent over the first week of reopening. The Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak trains, which run out of Penn Station, also logged about a 33 percent increase over the first week of reopening.

So far, close to 6,000 of the city’s approximate 25,000 restaurants have reopened with outdoor seating, as per NYC’s transportation department.  OpenTable, the restaurant reservation company, revealed that last week that dining reached about 20 percent of last year’s levels.

On Monday June 29th, New York City will enter phase 3 of reopening, ushering the reopening of some indoor dining, as well as outdoor recreation such as basketball and tennis courts.  On Wednesday the city’s beaches will also be opened, so get ready for Independence Day.

New York, which was formerly named the epicenter of the pandemic, seems to be on the cautious road to recovery, with other states such as Florida, Texas, California and Arizona topping it in coronavirus resurgence.

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