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NEW YORK — New York City’s subway system was the busiest it’s been since the beginning of the pandemic on Thursday.

The MTA says there were over 1.86 million paid trips Thursday, surpassing the previous pandemic high of 1.85 million on Oct. 15. Combine with 1.13 million trips on the bus system, over 3 million paid trips were taken throughout the city’s transit system Saturday.

“We are thrilled to see so many New Yorkers returning to the system after the most challenging year in New York City Transit history,” said Interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg. “Make no mistake: we still have a long way to go, but the progress we’ve made in bringing riders back is significant. We will continue to do everything in our power to get New Yorkers to vaccination sites and we are hopeful that more and more of our customers will return to the system in the weeks and months to come.”

The numbers from before the pandemic show how far the MTA still has to go. Average weekday ridership totals exceeded five million before the pandemic. That fell by over 90% to 300,000 by last April. Daily bus trips were down nearly 75% to about 600,000.

The MTA was touting billions in government funding it got from the American Rescue Plan, signed into law Thursday by President Biden.

The MTA still closes down the subway system for two hours each night for deep cleaning.

PIX11 News’ Greg Mocker contributed to this report.