MBTA ridership creeping upward

MBTA ridership saw “significant rising action” in March and April, though overall it remains at only a fraction of pre-pandemic levels, according to T General Manager Steve Poftak.

During the week of April 30, 2021, the agency transported about 45 percent as many bus riders and 28 percent as many rapid transit riders as it did the week of Feb. 24, 2020, before Covid-19 hit. In January, bus ridership was around 35 percent of pre-pandemic levels, while transit ridership hovered at 22 percent.

Demand is lower on the commuter rail system, which deployed a new schedule model in April offering more evenly spaced trips and less frequency at peak times, at 15 percent of pre-pandemic ridership. Ferry ridership stands at 10 percent of pre-Covid levels, though Poftak said that figure is “probably artificially a little bit lower than it would be” because it reflects an older schedule when service was still cut significantly.

“There’s no big inflection points,” Poftak said. “It’s more of a steady progression as individual companies or individuals make different choices about how much they’re going to travel, how they’re going to go to work.” April 30 was the agency’s “highest-ridership day” with more than 150,000 taps at rapid transit stations, Poftak said.