The subways are crowded from any height. (Photo by flickr user allen81)
Subway riders, according to figures released by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is at a 56-year high. As anyone who ever rides the trains could tell you, the subways are indeed crowded.
The MTA’s own press release fills in the details:
The efficiency, value and convenience of MTA New York City Transit’s network of subways and buses drew 2.3 billion riders last year, the highest annual ridership since 1969 and an increase of 2.7 percent or 60.1 million trips over 2006. Over the past five years alone, NYC Transit’s annual ridership has increased 6.1 percent. On average, weekday ridership was a combined 7.4 million, a 2.1 percent gain over 2006. Weekend ridership – Saturday and Sunday combined – also showed impressive gains up to 7.7 million, the highest annual weekend ridership in more than 35 years…
Subway ridership of 1.56 billion accounted for more than two-thirds of NYC Transit’s ridership, and was the highest annual subway ridership since 1951. Subway ridership jumped 4.2 percent or 63.6 million trips from 2006. Weekday subway ridership in 2007 averaged more than 5 million, the first time it has done so since 1952. In 2007, average weekend subway ridership was 5.1 million, an increase of 6.3 percent or 304,000 trips from 2006 and the highest weekend ridership in over 35 years. Annual subway ridership increased 10.6% from 2002 to 2007.
The L train, serving rapidly gentrifying and expanding neighborhoods in Williamsburg and points east, saw the highest growth with an eight percent increase in passengers.
Meanwhile, the MTA used this announcement to highlight the need for adequate funding for the subway’s future. With annual ridership constantly increasing and showing no signs of slowing down, officials called for sufficient money for infrastructure. “The continued investment in new subway cars and buses is not going unnoticed by our customers who are responding by increased usage of our system,” MTA NYC Transit President Howard Roberts said. “These historic ridership gains do, however, point out the increasing need for additional funding for continued infrastructure upgrades.”
On the other hand, Gene Russianoff, lawyer at the Straphangers Campaign, noted that supply is not keeping up subway demand. “The good news is people are flocking to the subways. The troublesome news is they are not keeping up with enough service,” he said.
So there you go. If the subways seem crowded, it’s because they are. And if this sounds familiar, well, just check out the news from February about 2006.