One of the constant complaints concerning the MTA’s subway map is how it isn’t exactly a comprehensive glimpse at service. Rather that representing the subway system as it is at all times, the current subway map shows service as it is during peak hours. It doesn’t reflect mid-day service changes; it doesn’t reflect weekend routes; and it certainly doesn’t show overnight service.
These shortcomings have long been recognized by the authority. In fact, the new map explicitly warns straphangers of its limitations, but although it urges users to check its website for information on off-peak re-routing, nowhere does a map exist on the MTA’s site with that information. In the digital age, that is a resource that should be readily available to the public.
Now, though, the writer behind Astoria Bike has tried to cure that omission. He has produced a late-night subway map. He offers up the impetus behind the map and a tale of trying to get the MTA on board:
Unlike every other city in the world, the MTA has never made a map of night service. This is a pretty big omission. Want to know how to get home? The official MTA party line is, “Overhead directional signs on platforms show… late night service.” Well that’s not much help! Especially given the horrible up-to-20-minute Zombie Wait (cue dripping water and rats). And God forbid you have to transfer. Or make an honest mistake because you trusted the day map! I pity the poor person waiting for the R late at night to take them to Queens…
The other night I was at Court Street in Brooklyn and was overjoyed to see the N train pulling in. I guess it does so every night. But I didn’t know. Because it’s not on the map.
After that night I actually wrote the MTA and offered to make a map night for them. Not surprisingly, I sort of got the runaround. So I did my best with photoshop and what I could find on line. I know the MTA is kind of anal about things like this, but my intentions are pure and non-commercial. This is a public service. I did the best I could. And any errors are my own (do let me know if you find mistakes). I do not claim any rights to this map (nor should you). It’s the MTA’s, if they want it. But they had nothing to do with the production.
Those interested can find a PDF version of the map right here, and it’s a useful thing to have late at night. Outside of the cost, there’s really no good reason for the MTA to avoid producing its own overnight map. There are just too many system changes after midnight and enough riders to justify the guide.