By the Numbers: Where we go on the weekends


Let’s continue our look into 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 the stations with weekend totals that mirror their weekday usage.

Over the past year, we’ve heard a lot about how weekend transit ridership is on the rise. These days, with 5.2 million riders during a typical weekday, Saturday ridership at over 3 million is around 57 percent of an average weekday, and Sunday is at 45 percent. These numbers are on the rise, and some areas see constant traffic throughout the week. Let’s take a look first at the Saturday table. I omitted the Aqueduct Racetrack stop which gets 116 riders per weekday and a whopping 264 per Saturday.

Station Weekday Saturday Percent
Beach 90 St (A,S) 1,019 1,363 134
Mets-Willets Pt (7) 4,472 5,650 126
Bowery (J,Z) 2,763 2,762 100
Metropolitan Av (G)/Lorimer St (L) 12,815 12,479 97
Inwood-207 St (A) 8,888 8,616 97
Cortlandt St (R) 4,745 4,598 97
Prince St (N,R) 16,223 15,519 96
Coney Island-Stillwell Av (D,F,N,Q) 13,254 12,169 92
Aqueduct-North Conduit Av (A) 1,386 1,271 92
Christopher St-Sheridan Sq (1) 10,077 9,053 90

Bedford Ave. with 19,979 Saturday riders as compared with 22,520 weekday riders just missed the top ten here, and Canal St. too sees over 40,000 on Saturday compared with 45,000 on a weekday. So what do we see here? Weekend destinations — such as Mets games and Coney Island — are popular, and tourist-heavy shopping and sight-seeing areas in Greenwich Village and SoHo attract riders as well. Strong ridership in Inwood was a bit of a surprise, but that likely is a result of a shuttered 1 train stop leaving only the A as a subway option in northern Manhattan. Metropolitan/Lorimer highlights how popular the L and G trains have become.

Next up, Sunday:

Station Weekday Sunday Percent
Mets-Willets Pt (7) 4,472 5,195 116
Beach 90 St (A,S) 1,019 1,002 98
Bowery (J,Z) 2,763 2,536 92
Metropolitan Av (G)/Lorimer St (L) 12,815 10,061 79
Howard Beach-JFK Airport (A) 2,729 2,080 76
Christopher St-Sheridan Sq (1) 10,077 7,668 76
Bedford Av (L) 22,520 17,081 76
Coney Island-Stillwell Av (D,F,N,Q) 13,254 10,044 76
Inwood-207 St (A) 8,888 6,473 73
Prince St (N,R) 16,223 11,550 71

Sunday is obviously the lowest trafficked day of the week. Most people stay home and eschew subway travel. Yet, recreational destinations remain strong. The Mets are atop the list, and the AirTrain stop at JFK maintains its ridership figures as well. People head to the Beach in Brooklyn, and Williamsburg denizens and visitors seem to favor the subway as well. If Bedford Ave. or the G/L station a few blocks away seem perpetually crowded, well, that’s because they are.

I’ll release the full datasets later this week. For now, we have a solid set of numbers to chew on as subway ridership and weekend usage continue to test a system long accustomed to massive weekend changes. Everyone is riding the subways these days.

11 Responses to “By the Numbers: Where we go on the weekends”

  1. SEAN says:

    Interesting how most Citi Field goers drive while at Yankee stadium they tend to use transit.

    When the new Yankee stadium was under construction, an enormous bone of contention was the sizeable increase of parking spaces. As it turned out, fewer people ended up driving since subway ridership was already high plus Metro-North projections underestimated the number of passengers who would be taking the train to the game. I believe the MNR numbers were projected to be around 10% & the actual numbers are around 25%.

    • SEAN says:

      To that point…

      While Yankee Stadium Garages May Default, Transit Thrives
      by Sam Handler

      Several years ago, when the Yankees proposed to build a new stadium in the Bronx, advocates campaigned against the parking garages that were planned to go with it. The facilities, they reasoned, were unnecessary, since fans had long been able to get to Yankees games without the 75% increase in parking capacity that the lots would bring. A coalition of advocates argued that it would be better to invest in transit and save the parkland on which the garages were to be constructed, but the facilities were built nonetheless (partially with taxpayer money). In a victory for sustainable transportation advocates, though, the city pitched in to help the MTA build a new Metro-North station within walking distance of the stadium.

      Now, three years after the stadium’s construction, the owners of the parking facilities have told the Securities and Exchange Commission that they will likely default on the tax-free bonds that financed the project. Why? Nobody’s parking there. NBC recently visited a garage near Yankee Stadium midway through the team’s home opener and found that three of its four floors were empty, and last year, the company’s lots were 43% full on the average gameday.

      And that Metro-North station? It’s booming. By all accounts, people love the service, and on the same day that NBC found the empty parking lot, the MTA announced that its Yankee Stadium stop had broken the record for the highest weekday ridership at the station during a regular season game. Over 5,100 people arrived at the game by commuter rail—that amounts to about 1 in 10 fans. Metro-North isn’t the only way for people to get to Yankees games by transit, either: over 8.6 million people swiped their MetroCards at the 161st St-Yankee Stadium subway station in 2011. This 2.3% increase in subway ridership over 2009’s figures (the year when the Metro-North station opened) is particularly impressive because the commuter rail presumably drew away some of its straphangers.

      As similar projects in New York City move forward, the city and state should heed the lessons of Yankee Stadium. Instead of subsidizing parking with $100 million aid packages and hundreds of millions in tax-free bond financing, they should prioritize funding for transit projects, like the $39 million contribution that helped the MTA build its new Metro-North station. There is only so much money; it should be spent wisely.

  2. Andrew says:

    To clarify, these aren’t stations that are necessarily busy on weekends – they’re stations that are relatively busy compared to their weekday ridership.

    I doubt the high weekend ridership at 207th on the A has anything to do with the closed station at Dyckman on the 1 – presumably riders diverted from Dyckman would divert to either 207th on the 1 or Dyckman on the A, and they’d divert just as much on weekdays and on weekends. What probably explains it is the fairly common GO’s that close the 1 north of 168th. For 1 train riders in the Bronx, a shuttle bus brings them to 207th on the A, where they all swipe into the system.

    The same idea presumably applies, to a lesser extent, at Howard Beach, where Rockaway riders are dropped off during shutdowns.

    By the way, nobody, aside from journalists attempting to be cutesy, says that stations are “shuttered.” The common term, as used by the public and by the MTA, is “closed.”

  3. I am guessing the Beach 90th weekend crowd is people from the city coming in to surf?

  4. John T says:

    Let’s be clear about the Mets stadium – the real draw is Flushing Meadow Park. On a non-Mes game day, like ths past Sunday, lots of families stream off the #7 to that big beautiful park, with bikes and balls and lots of kids. The Mets games just add to that number, and that’s why the Yankee Stadium/161st St stop is not on the list.

    • Andrew says:

      I agree that the park is also a draw at Willets Point.

      But ridership at 161st is much higher than at Willets Point, because 161st is in a residential neighborhood and is a few blocks from the Bronx County Courthouse.

      In other words, Willets Point is on the list not because it’s a terribly busy weekend destination but because it’s a fairly low-ranking weekday destination.

    • Jeff says:

      Not to mention the Mets aren’t exactly a WEEKEND destination per se. They aren’t a football team – they play on both weekdays and weekends so the increase shouldn’t be attributed to them.

  5. Alon Levy says:

    The Museum of Natural History stop gets a fair amount of weekend ridership relative to weekday ridership as well, a total of 128% Saturday plus Sunday (not sure how it breaks down between the two days).

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