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MTA Press Releases

Press Release
March 11, 2013
MTA Ridership Rises Again in 2012 Despite Historic Disruptions of Hurricane Sandy
New York City Subway Ridership Highest in 62 Years; Weekend Subway Ridership Matches All-Time High Set in 1946

Despite the historic disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy, annual ridership on the subways, buses and railroads operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) rose in 2012 by more than half a percent. The agency provided more than 2.6 billion trips to customers throughout the downstate region.

The largest numerical increase came on the New York City Subway, which provided 13.7 million more trips in 2012 than 2011, an increase of 0.8%. The subway’s annual ridership of 1.654 billion was the highest in 62 years. Average weekend ridership on the subway grew by 3.0%, matching the all-time historic high for weekend ridership set in 1946.

“MTA ridership has been growing for 20 years, and this positive trend reflects New York State’s improving economy and continuing improvements to the MTA’s services,” said MTA Interim Chairman Fernando Ferrer. “With capital program investments of nearly $78 billion since 1982, riders today enjoy shiny new trains and buses. Train cars have clear automated announcements and visual displays that show your current location. Crime has plummeted. Many stations have digital signs letting you know when the next train is due. As the MTA has rescued the system from the days of graffiti and breakdowns, riders have continued to come back.”

“Our ridership growth has been strongest among discretionary riders and during off-peak times,” said Thomas F. Prendergast, MTA Interim Executive Director. “Recent trends, like the younger ‘millennial’ generation increasingly gravitating toward transit around the country, are building on older trends, like the introduction of unlimited cards and free transfers between subways and buses, to continue the long-term ridership growth over 20 years.”

The largest percentage increase came on bus routes operated by the MTA Bus Company, which had year-over-year ridership growth of 1.2%, or more than 1.45 million rides. The MTA Bus Company was created in 2004-2006 by consolidating the operations of seven private bus companies that had previously operated under subsidy from the City of New York. The MTA Bus Company has worked in the years since then to improve route performance by amending service plans through routings used, frequencies of service and hours of service.

The preliminary table below shows ridership growth for each of the MTA’s services.



2011 Total

2012 Total


Percentage Change

New York City Subway





New York City Transit Buses



- 3,066,858

- 0.5%

MTA Bus Company





Metro-North Railroad





Long Island Rail Road





Staten Island Railway



- 138,340

- 3.0%

The MTA estimates that it lost 49.7 million trips because of Hurricane Sandy, comprised of 43.8 million at New York City Transit, 2.4 million on the Long Island Rail Road, 1.8 million on Metro-North Railroad, 1.6 million on the MTA Bus Company, and 100,000 on the Staten Island Railway.