May 17 (UPI) -- New York City subways resumed 24-hour service on Monday for the first time since it was shortened more than a year ago due to the emerging COVID-19 outbreak.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority ended 24-hour service for the first time in its 116-year history on May 6, 2020. The agency said ridership has since returned, especially this year.
Subway ridership reached almost 2 million in March, hitting that mark for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Ridership set a single-day record of 2.2 million last week.
The MTA said it will continue with its coronavirus cleaning efforts and require mask wearing.
"The subway returning to 24-hour service is a signal that we are closer than we have ever been to normal life," Sarah Feinberg, interim president of New York City Transit, said in a statement.
"We would not be at this point without the sacrifice and dedication of the whole NYC Transit team."
Now open 24/7. Again.
Some have voiced concern about recent attacks on riders and transit workers, including one Friday during which three riders were slashed by a group of men.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday Subways will be monitored by an additional 250 police officers during peak hours.
"This will now be the largest NYPD transit force in over 25 years," de Blasio said, according to WCBS-TV.
Subway historian Andrew Sparberg said the return of full service is part of the city's plan to lift all restrictions by July 1.
"New York is a city that depends on transit more than virtually any other city," he told The New York Times.
"People think of the subway as the lifeblood of the city. Without it, the city grinds to a halt."