Signs of the times, and more evidence of the essential service provided by public transit throughout the pandemic.
Jose Martinez and Dimitri Fautsch report on the shifting ridership on the New York subway, which during the pandemic has been significantly influenced to public health concerns, stay-at-home orders, and reduced service.
Now, 16 months after the pandemic started to take a toll on the city, subway ridership is shifting in measurable ways—most notably to subway stations in Queens are, for the first time, now among the ten busiest in the city.
"The Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street complex on the E, F, M, R and No. 7 lines and the 7’s Flushing-Main Street terminal round out the top 10 stations in the annual accounting of station-by-station usage — whose top stations have traditionally been in Manhattan," according to the article.
"The figures also show how the pandemic has flattened demand during the traditional rush hours in the subway, a trend that some transit analysts believe could eventually lead the MTA to redistribute subway service throughout the day," add Martinez and Fautsch.
Human experience backs up the data. The article includes a soundbite from one home-health aide, who says, " I don’t have a car, I have to get to work […] I have no other option but the subway and a lot of people [in Queens] kept going to work."
More from Planetizen on the subject of shifting ridership patterns and the essential service of public transit during the pandemic:
- Who's Still Riding Transit During the Pandemic? Evidence From Toronto (April 9, 2020)
- The Geography of Occupations: Some Neighborhoods Will Suffer More Than Others Under COVID-19 (April 10, 2020)
- Opinion: Transit Has Always Been an Essential Service (April 13, 2020)
- Public Transit in Crisis: Low-Income Riders Have the Most to Lose From Service Cuts (August 19, 2020)
- Transportation Equity Lessons from the Pandemic (January 12, 2021)
- The Realities of Pandemic Public Transit Service (March 2, 2021)
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