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NYC public transit ridership on the rise as COVID-19 infections ease

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The ridership on New York City’s subways and buses has seen an uptick recently, as the curve of COVID-19 infection gradually flattens in the city, officials of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) said.

About 1.3 million riders are taking the city’s subways and buses on an average workday now, up from around 800,000 in April, according to the MTA’s monthly board meeting on Wednesday.

Before the pandemic, the daily workday ridership was around 8 million.

Subway ridership now is about 600,000 trips per day, while buses have become more popular, approaching 700,000 trips per day, according to Sarah Feinberg, the interim president of New York City Transit.

Public transit ridership in New York City plummeted by more than 90 percent after the statewide “PAUSE” order was put into place in late March to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In Mid April, subway ridership once fell to around 365,000, compared with over 5.5 million the same time last year, officials said.

The agency said on Wednesday that it expected ridership to continue to grow, while the six-feet social distancing guideline might be hard to follow with more passengers on board.

“There are going to be many, many times when they’re in a situation where six feet is not possible, and the goal will have to be being absolutely vigilant about your mask use and putting as much distance between yourself and the next person as possible,” Feinberg told the board meeting.

Meanwhile, the MTA announced on Tuesday that it would be testing out ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection in subway stations, trains and buses starting next week.

The agency is installing 150 UV devices on selected locations for the 1-million-U.S. dollar pilot program and will expand the technology if it proves successful.

Since May 6, the MTA has suspended the overnight subway service for disinfection every night from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. to help keep essential workers safe from the coronavirus.

(XINHUA)