Bikeshare and subway ridership changes during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bike, mode - subway/metro, place - north america, place - urban, ridership - behaviour, ridership - demand


Bikeshare, Subway, Ridership, COVID-19 pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented in its scale and speed, impacting the entire world, and having an impact on metropolitan transportation systems. New York City (NYC) was especially hard hit in March and April 2020. A mandatory stay-at-home order was instituted, with all but essential businesses ordered closed. In this paper we examine the impact on the Citi Bike system and the NYC subway. Usage patterns during the lockdown are compared to corresponding days in 2019. Controlling for weather patterns we examine the effect of the lockdown and subsequent reopening of economic activity up through the end of September 2020. The results show that both subway ridership and bikeshare usage plummeted initially; bikeshare usage has nearly returned to normal while subway ridership remains substantially below pre-COVID levels. Implications for policy suggest that the bikeshare system provides resilience to the overall transportation system during disasters when public transit is considered dangerous or is disrupted.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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