New York City

NYC subway ridership highest in more than 65 years

Brooklyn sees greatest increase, especially on L and M lines

April 20, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A Rockaway Parkway bound L train heads south from Broadway Junction.  AP Photo/ Julie Jacobson
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Subway ridership in New York City has reached the highest annual rate in more than 65 years, MTA said on Monday.

According to new MTA New York City Transit figures, ridership grew 2.6 percent to 1.75 billion customers in 2014. During the last four months of 2014, the subway system carried more than 6 million customers on 29 weekdays – a level not seen since the post-World War II boom.

This growth was seen across the city, but the highest percentage increase — 2.7 percent – took place in Brooklyn, especially in neighborhoods undergoing rapid residential development, such as Bushwick.

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In Brooklyn, every station on the L line saw a ridership increase last year, with ridership increasing 4.7 percent, or more than 5,600 customers, on an average weekday, MTA said.

The L line is the MTA’s only line with Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) signaling systems, which has enabled the MTA to add dozens of trains per week.

The Bedford Avenue station in Williamsburg saw 27,224 average weekday customers, more than any other station on the L line in Brooklyn, but the largest weekday percentage increases occurred farther east on the line in Bushwick, at Bushwick Avenue-Aberdeen St (11.5 percent), Wilson Avenue (9.9 percent) and Jefferson Street (9.3 percent).

The M line in Brooklyn serves some of the same areas and also saw rapid growth, with average weekday ridership up 6.2 percent at stations between Marcy and Metropolitan avenues.

M line stations from Queens through Brooklyn have seen average weekday ridership grow a whopping 23.6 percent since 2009, after the M line  was rerouted to serve Midtown Manhattan in 2010.

Brooklyn’s increase in ridership was followed by 2.5 percent growth in Manhattan, 2.1 percent in the Bronx and 1.9 percent in Queens.

“The renaissance of the New York City subway is a miracle for those who remember the decrepit system of the 1970s and the 1980s, but moving more than 6 million customers a day means even minor disruptions now can create major delays,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said in a release.

Prendergast said MTA was “aggressively working to combat delays and improve maintenance, but the ultimate solution requires investing in infrastructure upgrades” such as CBTC.

Some 5.6 million customers rode the subway on an average weekday, a rise of more than 132,000 over last year. Weekday growth was strongest outside of the traditional morning and evening rush hours, MTA said, creating challenges for the system, which traditionally performs maintenance work during off-peak hours.

Weekend riders were up to 6 million customers on average, a rise of more than 500,000 over the last five years.

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