WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES SEPTEMBER 23, 2021 13
Take the subway to see the lights go up on Broadway
BY JANNO LIEBER
Now that the lights have gone back
up on Broadway, allow me to borrow
a line from “Wicked” to describe current
MTA ridership trends – we’re
“defying gravity,” and if not gravity,
then certainly expectations.
The system is breaking records
what seems like every few days following
the return to work and school
in person for many New Yorkers.
Our busiest day yet came Sept. 14
when the subways carried a pandemic
era high of three million riders.
That translates to about 51% of our
pre-COVID ridership. There’s still a
long way to go to get back to where
it was before the pandemic, but this
is an exciting milestone nonetheless.
Almost 1.5 million additional riders
rode NYC Transit and MTA buses.
The commuter railroads are also
going from strength to strength; both
the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-
North broke their own records
earlier this month, serving more
than 150,000 and 122,000 customers
These gains show that New Yorkers
trust the MTA to get them where they
need to go — whether it’s the offi ce, a
ballpark, restaurants or Broadway.
I got to celebrate the return of live
theater last week with the cast of
Disney Theatrical’s The Lion King
and the Broadway League in Times
Square. It was an incredibly fun
event that served as a reminder of
Broadway’s symbolic importance to
New York City – and a reminder to
fans that there’s no better way to get
to the theater than taking mass transit.
We’re thrilled to partner with
cultural icons like The Lion King to
help welcome customers back to the
Winning back riders is the central
mission of our ‘Welcome Back’
marketing campaign that you’ve
probably started to see across the
system. We’ve taken out billboards
and bought radio and print ads and
spots online. Signage is going up on
700 buses, with messaging all over
our digital screen network at stations.
The best incentive that we can off er
New Yorkers however is a reliable,
fast, and safe trip. Service and customer
experience are what matters
most. Subway on-time performance is
even better than the records we were
achieving just before the pandemic.
We invested heavily in speedrelated
upgrades while ridership
was low, and we are challenging
ourselves to further cut subway run
times and increase speeds wherever
possible. Perhaps most important,
the system is safer than ever thanks
to our robust disinfection eff orts and
high mask compliance.
Another key piece of welcoming
back New Yorkers is revisiting fare
and ticketing options. We need to devise
fare strategies that fi t the reality
of post-COVID commuting and travel
where new commuting schedules and
hybrid work have made 30-day tickets
and monthly passes less appealing
for many workers.
That’s why we made the decision
to extend off -peak fares on the commuter
railroads through the end of
the year. This will help riders save
up to 40% on tickets depending on
distance traveled. There are also
Autumn Weekends and Friends and
Family Wednesdays promotions,
where monthly LIRR and Metro-
North ticketholders can bring up to
four extra guests for just a dollar per
We’re going to keep getting
creative so that we can best support
the region’s economic revival. There
can be no recovery without a strong
MTA and we’re using technology,
imagination and the great work of
tens of thousands of MTA workers
to set New Yorkers up for success by
smoothly delivering them wherever
they need to be.
Janno Lieber is acting chair and CEO
of the MTA.
PRETTY IN PINK
PHOTO BY JUDY DULTZ
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