Driving, cycling and bus usage have all rebounded somewhat since the first two months of the pandemic, but subway and commuter rail ridership remain low.

Jeanmarie Evelly

‘Researchers believe that ‘post-pandemic New Yorkers trust the above-ground, windows-open potential of the bus to a greater degree than the subway.

As New York City continues to reopen from coronavirus lockdown measures, more and more residents are traversing the boroughs—and many are using cars to do so, transit advocates said Thursday, warning of a coming “carmageddon” that will bring increased congestion, pollution and crashes to city streets if the trend continues, especially with schools slated to reopen later this month. 

Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives analyzed several transit metrics and found that driving, cycling and bus usage have all rebounded somewhat since the first two months of the pandemic, but subway and commuter rail ridership remain low. MTA bus ridership—which dropped by 78 percent during March and April—is now just 35 percent lower than it was during pre-COVID times. Subway ridership, however, was still down 74 percent in August.

“It appears that post-pandemic New Yorkers trust the above-ground, windows-open potential of the bus to a greater degree than the subway,” the group’s findings read.