MBTA ridership down sharply over last month
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MBTA RIDERSHIP across all modes took a sharp tumble in January, reversing gains made slowly over the last 10 months.
MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak called the decline significant, and attributed it to a fairly typical holiday downturn in traffic and the Omicron COVID-19 surge. Poftak said he hoped the downturn would be short-lived, and noted there had been an uptick in traffic in recent days.
Bus ridership, which dipped as low as 40 percent of pre-pandemic levels, is now back to about 50 percent. Poftak said the bus system needs another 35,000 riders a day to get back to where it was in late November, at 65 to 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
Poftak said subway ridership is currently about 40 percent of pre-pandemic levels, down from its earlier level of 50 percent. Poftak said the subway system has added about 30,000 riders but needs to recover about 70,000 riders to get back to where it was in late November.
Commuter rail ridership had clawed its way back to nearly 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels in December, but in recent weeks ridership has fallen to below 30 percent. Poftak said commuter rail is often the most sensitive to COVID.“I am encouraged that ridership is already starting to rebound there,” Poftak said, noting that the commuter rail system has gained 8,000 riders per day in the last couple weeks.
Poftak said ridership had been running above forecast until the recent downturn.