The top 10 subway stations of 2011, by borough


I examined yesterday the top ten most popular subway stations in New York City, and by virtue of Manhattan’s central focus and popularity, nine of the ten are in the County of New York. Let’s expand the scope a bit and explore the other boroughs as well. We’ll start with Queens.

Rank Station Ridership
1 Flushing-Main St (7) 18,967,751
2 74-Bway (7)/Jackson Hts-Roosevelt Av (E,F,M,R) 16,377,496
3 Jamaica Center-Parsons-Archer (E,J,Z) 12,147,163
4 Forest Hills-71 Av (E,F,M,R) 8,316,825
5 Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike (E,F) 8,179,749
6 Woodhaven Blvd (M,R) 7,241,776
7 Junction Blvd (7) 6,963,489
8 Sutphin Blvd-Archer Av-JFK Airport (E,J,Z) 6,839,255
9 Jamaica-179 St (F) 6,818,728
10 Court Sq (E,G,M,7) 6,334,869

In Queens — as in Brooklyn and the Bronx — key transfer points seem to be the most popular stations. These stops are also centrally located in some densely populated residential areas. Court Square will likely see a bump this year with the new complex.

Rank Station Ridership
1 Jay St-MetroTech (A,C,F,R) 11,149,629
2 Court St (R)/Borough Hall (2,3,4,5) 11,115,037
3 Atlantic Av (B,Q,2,3,4,5)/Pacific St (D,N,R) 10,726,332
4 Crown Heights-Utica Av (3,4) 8,438,284
5 Bedford Av (L) 7,738,863
6 Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College (2,5) 6,547,958
7 Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs (L,M) 5,358,434
8 Kings Hwy (B,Q) 5,311,662
9 Nostrand Av (A,C) 5,139,201
10 DeKalb Av (B,Q,R) 5,122,803

In Brooklyn, the first two stations feed into the downtown area with jobs and housing. I expect Atlantic Ave./Pacific St. to move to the top of this list once the Barclays Center arena opens. If the rest of the Atlantic Yards project ever sees the light of day, it will far surpass Jay St. on the leaderboard. Beford Ave. has seen annual ridership grow by 2 million since 2007. That’s stunning growth.

Rank Station Ridership
1 161 St-Yankee Stadium (B,D,4) 8,605,893
2 3 Av-149 St (2,5) 7,232,070
3 Parkchester (6) 4,851,182
4 149 St-Grand Concourse (2,4,5) 4,169,699
5 Fordham Rd (4) 3,966,339
6 Fordham Rd (B,D) 3,680,312
7 Burnside Av (4) 3,528,312
8 Hunts Point Av (6) 3,191,706
9 Kingsbridge Rd (4) 3,169,615
10 Morrison Av-Soundview (6) 3,028,145

In the Bronx, with the courthouse up the hill and the Yankees across the street, the 161st St. station leads the pack. The remainder are key transfer points, job centers or major residential areas. I sense a theme.

24 Responses to “The top 10 subway stations of 2011, by borough”

  1. Eric says:

    “I examined yesterday the top ten most popular subway stations in New York City, and by virtue of Manhattan’s central focus and popularity, all ten of them were found on the island.”

    Uh, except for Flushing-Main St.

  2. Matt says:

    No Staten Island? Inquiring minds want … no, *need* to know the most popular stops on the SIR!

  3. SEAN says:

    I thaught the figgures for Forest Hills-71st Avenue would be far higher than 161st Street-Yankee Stadium knowing how dencely populated & busy Forest Hills is. Although 8.6 million is no shocker knowing just how well Yankee Stadium draws game in & game out.

    Transit ridership is such that several parking garages near the stadium are bearly half full if even that thanks to Metro-North’s easy access. I wonder what the figgures are for the 7 to City Field as a comparison.

  4. Dan says:

    The numbers also certainly support the plans for the 7 and Queens Boulevard to be next on the docket for CBTC. Any extra capacity during rush-hour will help on those lines (as with the L).

    • Andrew says:

      Peak loading is what you want to look at to see where more capacity is in order, not station entries. But I don’t think the MTA publishes peak loads on the website. (Ben, maybe it’s worth a request?)

  5. manny says:

    Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs (L,M) is located in both Queens and Brooklyn.

    • Al D says:

      Yes and no. The station itself is located in Brooklyn, however it does indeed serve both Bklyn & Qns.

      • Benjamin says:

        I thought that it depended on whether you exited on the north side of Wyckoff or the south. North side is Queens, South is Brooklyn.

      • Matthias says:

        The M platforms are located in Brooklyn; the L platforms straddle both boroughs:

        -The Canarsie-bound L platform is entirely in Brooklyn.
        -The Manhattan-bound L platform is bisected by the border which jogs northward from the center of Wyckoff Av up the middle of the block between Gates and Linden. The rear two-thirds of the platform is in Queens while the front third is in Brooklyn!

  6. Jason B. says:

    It’s always interesting to think about some of the intricacies behind some of the numbers. For example, 176th Street on the 4 train in the Bronx had a 17% increase inridership, much higher than the other lines. The reason? In that area, Jerome is at the bottom of a large hill, where few roads are built. Most of the access to the Jerome line for some is via stairs, and 176th has a massive staircase, which was closed from 09 to 11 for reconstruction, hence the massive dip and resurgence. Burnside was the nearest easiest train to get to without the stairs.

  7. John-2 says:

    Aside from Bedford on the L, the other interesting thing is the increase in Court Square. Aside from the business commuters using the stop, Court Square and Bedford Avenue show the increasing number of people looking for residential properties near Manhattan in areas that are still in the conversion from industrial useage.

    As a result, both York Street on the F (+10.31 percent) and Marcy on the J/M/Z (+10.19 percent) also show double-digit increases in ridership while other stops in already-developed riverfront areas, like the Brooklyn Heights (Clark St., High St.) stops and Queensbridge show far more modest gains.

  8. Larry Littlefield says:

    “In Queens — as in Brooklyn and the Bronx — key transfer points seem to be the most popular stations.”

    This is a little confusing, as is “ridership.” I expect you mean bus to subway transfers, which allow the station to capture riders from areas beyond walking distance.

    But Jay Street is a place where people transfer between subway lines. Is that being counted here? The general data just counts people entering the system, not those transferring within it.

    • Tsuyoshi says:

      Transfers aren’t counted here. But if a transfer is available, it means that people can reach the station from multiple directions. So the area is a good one for development, which leads to more people arriving or leaving the station itself.

      One major exception to this seems to be Broadway Junction. I wonder why?

  9. Joe says:

    As a Q trainer that lives near Kings Highway, I never would of guessed it beats out even Coney for riders. Really?

    Hell, its like 1/2 the train enters and exits on Church Ave alone.

    Whatevs. Guess I can be proud in being a contributor rider in making my home so popular. Yay for enriching the infinite number of banks on the King!


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