An excerpt from the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council’s report.
The subways are crowded. This much we know from riding the trains everyday and also from past stories about the MTA’s tooting its own popularity horn.
Today, from a report issued by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, we learn that, yup, those subways are indeed still crowded. You don’t say?
According to this grand survey of New York City transportation sources (PDF file here), New York City Transit ridership averaged 4,928,222 people a day during the first quarter of 2007. That figure represents a 3 percent increase over the same quarter in 2006.
More impressive is the March total: 5,096,905. For the first time since the 1950s, as I’ve noted before, ridership has exceeded that 5-million-a-day mark. That means that well over half the population of the city swipes through the subway’s turnstiles each day. While I know that five million New Yorkers are not making one trip each on the subway every day, the numbers are comparable. And not matter how you slice or dice it, that’s a whole lotta people. So if the subways seem crowded, it’s because they are.
To slam home this point with a sledgehammer, the NYMTC reports that 51 percent of New Yorkers using public transportation turn to those lines run by New York City Transit. In other words, the majority of the area’s public transportation trips now take place in the subways.
With these crowded subways, of course, comes a familiar drum beat to those of you who are regular readers around here. The MTA has to find a way to meet the demands of a growing readership. They need to make sure they have enough working train cars to keep up with heavy transit loads. They have to make sure that areas of the city with growing populations are adequately serviced by mass transit.
Now more than ever, this city depends upon the subways to run. Without a functioning and fully funded subway system, this city would see a very real economic downturn. Hopefully, this doomsday scenario won’t come to pass. For now, we should — outside of rush hour, at least — basque in the glow of our popular and efficient subway system.