Behind the Numbers: The great weekend decline


Over the past few days, I’ve examined the trends in subway ridership. We started with a pretty basic look at the top ten busiest stationsof 2011 and drilled down by borough as well. Today, I want to flip the numbers a bit.

Below, are two tables that show the biggest declines in ridership over the weekend. Some stations — particularly those located in Lower Manhattan and Midtown East — are quite susceptible to a great weekend decline. These are popular destinations for the working commuter, and the neighborhoods clear out after the work week is over. We’ll start with Saturday.

Station Weekday Saturday Percent
Hunters Point Av (7) 6,113 1,051 17
5 Av-53 St (E,M) 23,970 4,556 19
Wall St (2,3) 25,559 5,405 21
33 St-Rawson St (7) 13,587 3,162 23
Pelham Pkwy (5) 3,236 797 25
Morris Park (5) 1,966 573 29
Avenue M (Q) 4,632 1,399 30
55 St (D) 1,983 601 30
Wall St (4,5) 22,986 7,291 32
Fulton St (A,C,J,Z,2,3,4,5) 63,203 20,167 32

I was surprised at first to see Hunters Point Ave. leading off this list, but upon further reflection, it’s clear that there is literally nothing there that would be open on the weekends. The decline at 5 Ave.-53rd St. is pretty extreme considering that MOMA is down the block, but clearly, the museum-goers aren’t taking the E train there on the weekends. Fulton St. is another station with a huge decline. The weekend numbers are still impressive, but that two-thirds drop is extreme, especially considering the expense of the Transit Center that will ideally attract more people during off-peak hours.

Now, Sunday. It’s an awfully similar chart, and even fewer people head to Fulton St. on Sunday.

Station Weekday Sunday Percent
33 St-Rawson St (7) 13,587 1,530 11
Hunters Point Av (7) 6,113 809 13
5 Av-53 St (E,M) 23,970 3,190 13
Wall St (2,3) 25,559 4,033 16
Pelham Pkwy (5) 3,236 540 17
Morris Park (5) 1,966 403 20
Eastchester-Dyre Av (5) 4,603 991 22
Fulton St (A,C,J,Z,2,3,4,5) 63,203 14,318 23
Wall St (4,5) 22,986 5,219 23
36 St (M,R) 4,340 1,018 23

The numbers for Wall Street are pretty amazing really. This 2/3 station with its tiny platform sees over 25,000 entries on a typical weekday but only 9400 over the two days of the weekend combined. No matter how much the city pushes residential life in Lower Manhattan, the Financial District has seemingly remained stubbornly immune to it. It’s just your typical urban business center from which the population vanishes at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Outside of the top ten, other notables include Grand Central, which sees a decline of 63 percent on Saturday and 72 percent on Sunday over a typical weekday. Even with a decline of over 100,000 riders, the station still sees 41,000 passengers on Sunday. Similarly, Bryant Park dips from over 50,000 per weekday to 20,000 on a Saturday and just under 15,000 for Sunday. Just something to chew on.

25 Responses to “Behind the Numbers: The great weekend decline”

  1. Al D says:

    Broad St should have a 100% decline and be at the top of the list. They are hiding that they close a station on the weekends.

  2. Andrew says:

    I would imagine the stops along the 7 saw a dramatic decline in ridership over the weekends last year because the line was shutdown for repairs so many times.

    • al says:

      Many of these stations have heavy work and school commuter ridership.

      Hunters Point Av (7) weekend work, nearby G
      5 Av-53 St (E,M) CBD without housing or non work trip generators
      Wall St (2,3) Wall St closed over weekend
      33 St-Rawson St (7) Aviation HS, factories, offices, warehouses nearby closed for weekend. LaGuardia College has fewer students vs weekdays.
      Wall St (4,5) Wall St closed over Weekend
      Fulton St (A,C,J,Z,2,3,4,5) Wall St closed over weekend

      • al says:

        P.S.: Hunters Pt Ave (7) also serves industrial part of LIC around the Dutch Kills. Weekend ridership is lower for these warehouses and factories.

  3. Kid Twist says:

    Avenue M on the Brighton Beach Line and 55th Street on the West End are each in the heart of Orthodox Jewish neighbrohoods. It’s not surprising they appear on your list of biggest drop-offs for Saturday, but not Sunday.

  4. Sunny says:

    Don’t forget about GO’s, they affect rider counts pretty drastically. The MTA cited the example of the (G) north of Bedford-Nostrand being bused 17 times in 2010 vs. twice in 2011.

  5. Bill Reese says:

    There’s a very good reason for the Hunters Point decline. The B67 bus serves the transit no-man’s-land that is Maspeth, Ridgewood and other locales along the Newtown Creek. The 7 stop at Hunterspoint Avenue connects with the B67 and there is usually a sizable crowd waiting for the bus during evening rush hours.

    I found this out a few months ago when I had to go retrieve a UPS package at their warehouse in Maspeth. The B67 was empty from Queens Plaza to Hunterspoint Avenue, then nearly 50 people got on the bus at that one stop.

  6. tk says:

    if grand central has a 63/72% decrease, how is it not on the list?

  7. Mike says:

    Hunterspoint also serves people changing from the LIRR station there to the 7 train, but that LIRR line doesn’t run on weekends.

  8. Ed says:

    People don’t use stations on the weekends when not many trains run through them? The prefer to use cars instead? I think you can do better than this.

  9. Jonathan says:

    Would you be able to post or provide a link to average weekday ridership for all stations?

  10. ben guthrie says:

    Fulton St (A,C,J,Z,2,3,4,5) – at least part of the decline is because the A & C usually skip the station weekends because of the renovation work.

    I see above that “Wall St (2,3) Wall St closed over weekend”. I know Park Place is also often closed over the weekend. Is it closed Fulton as well?

  11. Larry Littlefield says:

    FYI — when I first read the title I believed that data showed that weekend ridership was going down in many stations. Actually, this is the stations where weekend ridership is the lowest relative to weekday ridership.

    In addition to business areas, the difference can be explained by a difference in the way people use mass transit. Those with cars still use it to go to work in Manhattan and similar areas. Those without cars use it all the time.

    Another explanation is two subway lines in close proximity, with a big difference in weekend service. Perhaps there are more #2 trains than #5 trains on the weekend.

  12. I know about 10 people that drive to hunters point and then take the train because it is direct to midtown Manhattan. No need to waste time going through Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. a 15 minute drive can save 45 minutes each way.

  13. Alon Levy says:

    Hunters Point is served by the LIRR, and gets 3,200 weekday riders in each direction (link). Presumably, a subset of those riders are in fact connecting to the 7 and find it more convenient to get off there and go to Grand Central. This is another source of weekday-only ridership.

  14. J says:

    Given your comment that the financial district is immune to the city’s residential push, I would be curious to see how the weekend usage for Fulton and Wall St. stations have changed over time. Anecdotally, it sure seems like the area is lot more lively on evenings and weekends then it used to be.

  15. Josh says:

    “No matter how much the city pushes residential life in Lower Manhattan, the Financial District has seemingly remained stubbornly immune to it.”

    I suppose I might consider it, despite the fact that there isn’t much open in the area on the weekends, but the only residential options in the area are luxury condos and rentals that are more expensive than living in actual neighborhoods. If they want to achieve a significant residential population in the area, there need to be housing options that aren’t just priced for I-bankers.

    • TP says:

      Practically all new construction or new renovation in New York City these days is “luxury” unless it’s intentionally created to be “affordable” through low income housing tax credits or some other subsidy. The difference is that other neighborhoods in the city have housing that’s not been newly renovated or constructed, whereas FiDi had very little housing until recently. You just have to give it time for those units to trickle down to affordability for the middle class.

      On the other hand though, I’d wonder what the market is for that housing even in the long term. The primary draw of living in FiDi is being walking distance to your job in i-banking, which–as the neighborhood becomes a bit more residential–is something people in that industry would pay for. I don’t think as many school teachers would want to live there when they could live 25 minutes away in Brooklyn for half the price.

  16. Eric says:

    The financial district does not appear to be “immune” to residential use. The weekend ridership is actually quite high compared to other stations, indicating that many people live there. It is only low compared to the extremely high weekday ridership.


  1. […] the 2011 ridership numbers with an examination of weekend rider trends. Last week, I took a look at stations with the greatest decline in use over the weekend, and today, we’ll flip that on its head. The below tables represent […]

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