Pandemic takes toll on businesses that rely on mass transit commuters
The coronavirus pandemic is still taking a huge economic toll on businesses across the board -- and mass transit is no exception.
Metro-North platforms remain relatively empty nearly 11 months into the pandemic, and businesses that rely on commuters have been among the hardest hit.
At its worst, ridership was down 95% - it's now around 80% less than what it was pre-pandemic.
The progress gives Metro-North President Cathy Rinaldi confidence for 2021.
"As we get into the spring, summer, and then into the fall that our ridership will really steadily start to pick up," she says.
For the trains, it's a slow recovery - but for the people at Tommy's Trax Side Cafe who rely heavily on commuter's business, it's an even slower process.
The 3-year-old deli used to have a steady flow of people grabbing breakfast on the way to work, but now the cafe is just getting by without its biggest customer base.
Tommy's Trax Side Cafe manager T.J. Carpenito says he is also confident about the future of his business and the trains -- which are deeply intertwined.
"We come back to life and everything comes back to normal. Hopefully, everything gets back to normal eventually. That's everyone's key goal," he says.
One thing that could impact future commuters and Carpenito's business is looming fare hikes.
The MTA delayed the revenue booster to start the year but could revisit it in a few months.