Driving Returns to Near Pre-Pandemic Levels, while New Yorkers Remain Hesitant to Use Public Transit
Residents of New York and New Jersey, who are hitting the roads almost at pre-pandemic levels, are not yet showing a complete return to public transit, according to statistics reported by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
For instance, overall traffic at the Port Authority’s four bridges and the Lincoln and Holland tunnels was only down about 2% last month, compared to June 2019.
Truck traffic even showed a 7% increase, compared to June 2019.
While crossings briefly dropped from January to February this year at the George Washington Bridge, the double-decked suspension bridge that connects Manhattan and Fort Lee, 35% more drivers travelled bridge, which is the most travelling span between the two states, from February to May.
At the same time, however this year, ridership on PATH trains was 63% lower than it was in June 2019.
In addition, in recent months, the city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has reported similarly low levels of ridership that remain below 50% of pre-pandemic levels.
Traffic gridlock could increase as New Yorkers continue to hesitate to take subways and buses as COVID persists, city officials worry.
MTA officials are concerned that public transit ridership will not bounce back for years from the pandemic as many employees continue to choose to work from home.
Fewer people are flying as well, as the 62% fewer passengers travelled through JFK, Newark Liberty International, and LaGuardia airports in the first six months of 2021 compared to 2019. In June, however, New Yorkers appear to be venturing out to fly more often this summer, as those airports’ numbers were only down by 47%, the Port Authority also reported today.