Will you ride the NYC subway right now?

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June 16, 2020
is it safe to use the subway nyc

Going back to work and worried about commuting on the subway again? We’re here to answer all your questions and ease your concerns.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit New York City the hardest among all states in the U.S. Coronavirus NYC started with its first few positive cases at the beginning of March and has spread so rapidly that NYC became the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic. More than 206,000 New Yorkers were tested positive for the virus and more than 21,800 people have died from COVID-19 since March.

While New Yorkers were forced into the norm of social distancing and quarantining at home, some New Yorkers took things further by choosing to leave the hustle and bustle of the city to quieter suburban areas. This is partially due to wanting to escape the crowded city with many believing the less crowded suburbs as a safer alternative. In addition, along with the stay-at-home order, streets and public transportation became quieter than they have ever been as only essential workers practiced their daily commute.

The shelter-in-place was extended by Governor Andrew Cuomo in May to June 13th, but some stay-at-home restrictions began to ease on Monday, June 8th, 100 days after its first COVID-19 case. This allowed thousands of businesses to restart their operations and started the Phase One of reopening in NYC. In fact, the same time New York City has started the first phase of reopening, other regions in the State of New York are in Phase Two. The plan for reopening New York is underway, and the norm of social distancing, masks, and other precautions are still in place and part of the daily norm for all New Yorkers.

Avoiding getting sick traveling on trains, subways, buses
29-11 Queens Plaza North, #23A Long Island City, New York

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)

The MTA stands for Metropolitan Transportation Authority and is responsible for public transportation for the State of New York. Before the Coronavirus, there were about 8.3 million daly riders in NYC and when the pandemic hit, more than 90% of them stopped riding public transportation. However, as stay-at-home restrictions began to ease and phase one of reopening starting up, subway ridership jumped 17% in NYC. At the beginning of June, there were about 686,000 riders, but by June 8th, it had jumped to 800,000 riders as business started reopening.

So is it safe to ride the subway right now? While the subway trains and lines may not be crowded right now as the city is starting phase one of reopening, the NYC subway safety concerns are the millions of riders expected when the third phase of reopening is implemented. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently released a guideline that states the Coronavirus doesn’t spread easily on surfaces such as subway seats or poles.

However, since subway cars are usually crowded and poorly ventilated, there is a risk of spreading the virus through airborne droplets. While the risk of riding in subways can never be fully eliminated, there are ways to reduce the risk.

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What are the MTA plans for the NYC subway after Coronavirus and how are they preparing to protect you and other riders? At the beginning of the pandemic, the MTA had already taken action by stepping up their cleaning procedures by sanitizing frequently touched surfaces twice a day. Now with the reopening of NYC, they have a 13-point plan to ensure the safety of riders returning to work on the subway.

This includes increased services to provide as much space as they can, intensive cleaning services across the system, test innovative cleaning solutions, mandate face coverings, distributing hand sanitizers throughout the system, staggering business hours, contactless payments, and distributing masks. Additionally, the subway is closed between 1 am and 5 am for cleaning and disinfection that includes their new UV technology.

NYC Subway Riders Up 19% in First Week of City’s Reopening
2 Stuyvesant Oval, #12F Stuyvesant Town, New York

Living next to a subway station in New York City

As the subway is a large part of many New Yorker’s daily commute, living near one is usually what people prefer. However, does it cost more to live near the subway and does it vary depending on the borough you look at? We’re here to answer all your questions.


Manhattan is already considered the most expensive borough to live in, but does living near a subway cost more? If you take a look at Manhattan apartments, the borough has one of the best access to subways. You’ll notice that the differences in distance between an apartment near a subway and one further away isn’t very drastic. Those apartments closer to transportation are a bit more expensive, but not by much. For instance, the Midtown and Financial District apartments are located 0.10 miles away from the subway and are around $1,000 more expensive in rent compared to the Battery Park and Stuyvesant Town apartments that are 0.34 miles away.

Manhattan listings near the subway:

Manhattan listings further away from the subway:

would you ride the subway in nyc now
90 Washington Street, #18M Financial District, New York


The price difference in apartments closer to subways compared to those further away is a bit more evident in Brooklyn. For instance, apartments in Brooklyn Heights are a median of 0.14 miles away from a subway station are a lot pricier than those further away.

Flatlands, Brooklyn, has a median distance of 1.75 miles to the nearest subway and the available 1 bed, 1 bath house is around two times cheaper than one in Brooklyn Heights. Bergen Beach has a median distance of 2.23 miles to the subway and the 3 beds, 2 baths listing is more than two times cheaper than one in Brooklyn Heights.

Brooklyn listings near the subway:

Brooklyn listings further away from the subway:


The price differences in Queens is similar to Brooklyn where apartments closer to subway stations have higher rent compared to those further away. However, in Queens, the neighborhoods not near a station have a longer walk of at least 10-20 minutes to the nearest one.

For example, Long Island City has a median distance of 0.21 miles to the subway while Rosedale has a median of 5.25 miles and Laurelton has a median of 3.62 miles. The listings found in LIC are about twice as expensive as those found in Rosedale and Laurelton.

Queens listings near the subway:

Queens listings further away from the subway:

While living closer to the subway means higher rent, sometimes the shorter commute is worth it. However, if you’re willing to take a longer commute, this could mean cheaper housing. You can easily see how far each listing is to a subway station on Localize. Even better, you can add in your commute and we can search for listings that will ensure the fastest commute time for you! 

As NYC is going through phase one of reopening, there is bound to be a lot of uncertainty. Any precautions taken are important in keeping the virus numbers down so be sure to practice the new safety measures put into place as the new normal such as social distancing and wearing masks. Stay safe! 

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