Home New York City Transit Amidst an overall decline, 2017 ridership numbers show 2nd Ave. subway impact

Amidst an overall decline, 2017 ridership numbers show 2nd Ave. subway impact

by Benjamin Kabak

After a few months’ delay and some gentle nudging on social media over the past few weeks, the MTA this month finally released detailed ridership figures for 2017, and it’s not hard to see why the agency delayed releasing these numbers, as they usually do, in May. In short, 2017 was not a good year for the New York City Subway (and 2018 is shaping up to worse). The decline echoes with ramifications well beyond the confines of New York City Transit’s budget projections. Let’s dive in.

We’ll start with the bad, and the bad is pretty bad. Following years of unreliable service and constant subway disruptions, ridership dropped for the second consecutive year, and the total 2017 subway ridership was 1.727 billion, down by nearly 30 million riders from 2016. Last year’s figure is still historically high, but it’s the lowest annual total ridership since 2013 when the MTA recorded 1.707 billion passengers. The picture isn’t much prettier this year as, through May, average weekday ridership was down around 1.6 percent and average weekend ridership is off last year’s pace by nearly 6 percent. It’s very likely that 2018 will see the lowest annual subway ridership total since 2012, and this will represent the first four-year decline since 1988-1991 when a recession and rising crime rates led to the ridership decline.

To me, this decline represents a problem. Crime in New York is at historic lows, and the city’s economy and job market are strong. All leading indicators suggest that subway ridership should be booming, not cratering. But it’s not, and it’s worth pondering where these trips are going. By and large, the granular ridership figures show that the decline is generally concentrated in the off-peak and weekend slots. Anecdotally, more New Yorkers simply aren’t leaving their neighborhoods via subways on the weekend, and the city’s economy will be worse off for it. It’s also safe to assume that some people will rely on bikes and bike share while others will use for-hire vehicles or private automobiles. Thus, as subway service grows less reliable and ridership declines, the streets will become more clogged with cars (and the congestion and air quality will be worse). This is not a positive downward spiral, and it’s one with which city politicians should be concerned.

To make matters worse, this decline in total annual subway ridership comes after the MTA spend a few billion dollars to open up the three new stops along Second Ave. (and a few years after the 7 line extension opened). Thus, ridership is declining in spite of more revenue-service track miles. Even though the subways are still crowded — after all, 1.727 billion is still a very high figure in recent NYC history — the trend lines are all trending in the wrong direction. Andy Byford’s plan to rescue the subways becomes more important in this light.

But the news isn’t all bad, and in a roundabout way, we return to the Second Ave. Subway. As I mentioned, the 2017 numbers are the first reflecting the new service, and riders on the Upper East Side are enjoying the benefits. The three new stations along 2nd Ave. combined for over 20 million riders, and the Q’s shared station with the F at Lexington Ave.-63rd St. saw a 25 percent jump in station entries. With hospitals nearby, 72nd St. and 2nd Ave. is already the 40th busiest subway station in New York City.

Take a look at how ridership numbers across the Upper East Side compare year-over-year, and you’ll see the full impact of the 2nd Ave. Subway.

2nd Ave. Subway 2017 Daily Ridership

Station 2016 2017 % Change
Lexington - 63rd (F/Q) 16,988 20,893 +23%
68th St. - Hunter College (6) 35,068 24,456 -30.3%
72nd St. (Q)   28,145  
77th St. (6) 36,103 27,584 -23.6%
86th St. (4/5/6) 64,793 45,882 -29.2%
86th St. (Q)   23,722  
96th St. (6) 26,939 18,983 -29.5%
96th St. (Q)   17,150  

As promised, the Lexington Ave. lines are seeing significantly lighter passenger loads along the East Side while the 2nd Ave. Subway is introducing new riders to the system. A conservative estimate shows approximately 27,000 new riders per day entering the system due to the 2nd Ave. Subway with the potential for more depending upon particular ridership patterns. (For what it’s worth, the M15 buses on 2nd Ave. saw a decline of around 3.7% or 517,000 annual passengers as citywide bus ridership declined by around 5.6%.)

In the first year, the Second Ave. Subway seemed to deliver on its promise to ease overcrowding along the Lexington Ave. lines, and these numbers should serve as ammunition for project proponents as the MTA gears up to deliver Phase 2 to East Harlem. As a counterpoint to my optimism, Aaron Gordon at The Village Voice questioned the Second Ave. Subway in light of ridership figures, but I’m more concerned with the cost and construction timeline for Phase 2 than for its utility. It should be built for a variety of reasons and will bring with it big benefits to areas of Manhattan relatively isolated. (More on that later.)

For now, though, the subways are still crowded, but less so. That “less so” part should scare everyone thinking about the long-term successes and challenges facing New York City. The picture slowly coming into focus isn’t a pretty one if ridership declines aren’t reversed soon.

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ben guthrie July 23, 2018 - 12:32 am

I’m not at all surprised weekends are down. Weekend service(?) is terrible. One never knows how to manage to get to events. We’ve skipped a couple Lincoln Center events because to 2/3 never run on the weekends anymore. I generally don’t even look much for weekend events because transportation haphazard. Entering almost any line is a roll of the dice. If there are trains arriving they often aren’t the ones you expect. Worse, they can be going almost anywhere it seems.

sonicboy678 July 24, 2018 - 5:23 pm

If you’re referring to the Clark Street closures, they were necessary thanks to Sandy, and Clark’s in no position for a full closure, unlike Montague.

TimK July 25, 2018 - 3:54 am

And if you’re referring to the Clark St tube closures, they’re done now, so you can start going to Lincoln Center on the weekends again. 🙂

Tom P July 26, 2018 - 9:53 am


And the MTA’s data showing lower ridership on the weekends justifies even further reduced service and wilder service changes…

Rail enthusiast July 23, 2018 - 3:45 am

The only way MTA can combat the declining ridership is by shutting down lines for week(s) at a time and fully complete the work instead doing the work outside of rush hours. During the midday hours (10am till about 3pm) MTA does construction work. During the overnight hours (10pm to 6am) MTA does construction work. On weekends, sometimes the entire weekend, sometimes Saturday or Sunday only, MTA does construction work. Ridership outside of weekday rush hours counts just as much as ridership any other hour of day, but rush hour riders can get service with no construction work interrupting their trip. Why?

Instead of doing work for 5 weekends, why not close the line/section for a week and get it done? Imo, MTA is afraid of closing lines during the week for work, and unless that changes, ridership in general, especially outside of rush hours, will continue to fall.

sonicboy678 July 24, 2018 - 5:20 pm

That’s easy. Rush hours have the greatest concentrations of ridership. Finding suitable places to turn trains can be extremely difficult. Some routes also carry especially heavy loads during these times (Brooklyn IRT, barring the 3). This is only exacerbated by more limited options for replacement service in certain situations. If you recall the work in Clark and Joralemon, they had more specific closures (true, the damage wasn’t too great, but they carry loads too heavy for other routes to efficiently handle), whereas Montague was able to be closed for one continuous period.

anon_coward July 23, 2018 - 8:38 am

outer boroughs people drive on the weekends. Try taking the subway from queens to Brooklyn on a Saturday. One way trip is half the day. I can leave the house before 8, drive out to Jones Beach, bike almost 30 miles, drive back, shop for food and get home in the time it would take just to go from Queens to Brooklyn by train.

And Manhattan is the last place i want to go to on the weekends.

The late night bar people are probably taking Ubers back instead of the subway

Bolwerk July 26, 2018 - 10:48 am

With 2 out of 4 outer boroughs not even having 50% car ownership rates, and a third (Queens) only in the 60% range because of heavy ownership rates in eastern Queens, that generalization is nonsensical.

Chet July 31, 2018 - 10:23 am

I find some of that hard to believe.
Living on Staten Island, I often go into Manhattan by driving to either the D/N/R at 36th St or to the F at Carroll Street.
I make sure to check for service changes, especially on weekends. This past Saturday (the 28th) it took me about 70 minutes to go from the middle part of Staten Island to Herald Sq (using the F train) at around 6:30pm; and it took just 60 minutes to get back home, including a 10 minute wait for an F train at around 10:45pm.

blue July 23, 2018 - 8:59 am

Are we sure the population of NYC is growing?
– rents are leveling off, indicating demand of people not growing with housing supply
– mta ridership is down

Macro factors at play
– NYC’s population growth has been in part due to millennials but the national trend is for older millennials to move out of city cores to the suburbs.
– NYC’s population growth is in part also due to immigration and our new federal administration has a less open policy than the last one.

Was peak New York in 2016? Now we’re on the other side?

Larry Littlefield July 23, 2018 - 11:36 am

Maybe. Soaring rents (in part due to rising property taxes), weak wages, jam packed and unreliable transportation may have begun to discourage young adults from coming to or remaining in New York City. An improving economy elsewhere may have provided alternatives.

Of course at some point, fewer workers might cause employers and landlords to finally give workers a break.

SEAN July 25, 2018 - 9:39 am

Peak New York region or just Manhattan. It’s an important distinction. A YouTube channel “The Money GPS pointed out that the tri-state population dropped about 100,000 in the past few years, but never made it clear who was leaving. It’s a big difference if those leaving are retirees or thirtysomethings.

I don’t know if anyone reading this has visited Hoboken recently, but there has been a rapid increase of families with little ones in strollers & they are everywhere. My father mentioned this last week & I noticed it a few days ago… its so adorable. The population of Hoboken rose about 4000 from the 2010 sencis to almost 55,000. Keep in mind that the land area is only 1.25 square miles making it denser than many parts of Brooklyn, Queens or Staten Island.

Bolwerk July 26, 2018 - 11:45 am

Peak rapid transit New York maybe? To begin, much of the appeal of New York is convenient access to the subway, and the subway has been getting ever less convenient. Bus-dependent parts of the boroughs have been stagnating for a while.

Now Manhattan is littered with empty apartments owned by the super-rich. Because they can always afford to land somewhere, not much is made of the fact that the upper middle class was basically driven to Hoboken, Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg, and Long Island City, which in turn drove less established young professionals deeper into the boroughs (once-cheap Sunnyside and Ridgewood aren’t so cheap anymore). Successive painful waves of gentrification later, there’s not much of inner urban core of Manhattan-Queens-Brooklyn (add Hoboken and Jersey City too?) left for acquisitive suburban whites to colonize.

Nobody really seems to be tracking what happens to the original residents of gentrified neighborhoods, but if they’re being driven to parts of New York without particularly good subway access they’re probably avoiding the ambling local buses available to them unless they have to. Though many of them are probably being driven to Florida, Virginia, Texas, and other centers of service sector wage slavery.

Larry Littlefield July 27, 2018 - 3:07 pm

Here is some data that might bear on the discussion.

According to BLS estimates the NY metro area labor force, those working or looking for work, increased by 386,295 from May 2008 to May 2017, a big increase for an already densely developed area. NYC accounted for 323,145 of that.

But from May 2017 to May 2018, the labor force shrank by 22,000 in the city and 101,700 in the metro area as a whole.

It would seem that the influx of Millennials, which made NYC so attractive to business, is now being overwhelmed by the retirement of Baby Boomers. The May unemployment rate was down to 3.4 percent. That’s close to frictional unemployment — just people between jobs, not people without jobs.

Larry Littlefield July 27, 2018 - 3:45 pm

June looks better, based on preliminary data. Up about 10,000 in the city and 100,000 for the MSA, year-over-year.

Peter July 23, 2018 - 9:45 am

It’s interesting that ridership numbers are down, but I don’t think this is accurate. It’s more likely that “paying” ridership is down. What I usually see on my daily commute, and this is usually during peak travel time, at least one or two individuals fare-beating. I believe the fare-beating numbers are significant and the media and our politicians don’t want to publicize them.

Larry Littlefield July 23, 2018 - 11:37 am

We do have a pro-fare beating administration. The propaganda is that if you consider yourself poor, we shouldn’t be harassing you for beating the fare.

Stephen July 24, 2018 - 12:35 am

“Pro-fare beating”

The disdain you have for your fellow human is appalling.

Larry Littlefield July 24, 2018 - 9:28 am

Please. If this country had more respect for people who followed rules relative to those who think they only apply to others, perhaps we wouldn’t have Donald Trump as President.

There are plenty of examples in society over the past 50 years of those being given an inch taking a mile.

SEAN July 24, 2018 - 8:39 pm

Name these particular groups in society – I know you can.

Larry Littlefield July 25, 2018 - 7:48 am


Same generation that did graffiti. My world and you are just living in it.

Stephen July 24, 2018 - 12:33 am

Nope. Fare evasion is not a major contributor to ridership decline on subways. Seen the documents.

Larry Littlefield July 24, 2018 - 9:33 am

If so, it’s because the fare evasion generation has aged out of the fare evasion phase of life, replaced by a less sociopathic generation of teens and young adults. Let’s keep it that way.

Meanwhile, the fare evasion generation is running the federal, state and local governments, business and the mainstream media, in its own interest.

smotri July 23, 2018 - 10:45 am

All I can say is that the 2nd Avenue Subway has been revolutionary for me. I used to use the 68th Street – Hunter College stop on the Lexington Avenue local. In so many ways, it was dreadful. By contrast, the 72nd Street 2nd Avenue Subway station is clean, not decrepit, easy to access, and, unbelievably, air conditioned – a genuine first-world station. The Q itself is usually on time and fast, at least in Manhattan; my commute time is now under a half hour, as opposed to the 45 minutes it used to take – on a good day – on the 6. The rest of the subway system, though, is generally abysmal, and forget even trying to use it on the weekends. This is not a world class system by any means. Anyone who maintains that it is either has their head buried in the sand or doesn’t ride the subway enough to see for themselves how bad it is.

Stephen July 24, 2018 - 12:42 am

Yes, the largest system in North America that costs only $2.75 to get all over the city, and mostly gets everyone where they need to go is clearly not “world class by *any* means.”

There is obviously so much improvement that needs to be made, but if you are only concerned with the cosmetic, as your comments indicate, then you are just wildly missing the point of what makes a world class system

Shawn July 24, 2018 - 8:59 am

Mta is world class in many respects (24/7 operations, 400 stations, disaster reponse to Sandy)

What makes the MTA infuriating is if only we just, as a society, invested in a big one-time program to modernize and rebuild the system it would be best in the world. Unfortunately we try to do everything except build new stations cheaply.

Larry Littlefield July 24, 2018 - 9:31 am

Not true, and that’s part of the way we got into this mess. We borrowed $37 billion. Isn’t the subway finished yet?

No, because all of its components, save the hole in the ground, wear out and have to be replaced on an ongoing basis.

We borrowed long term for a few years of ongoing normal replacement, over and over. Until the MTA couldn’t borrow anymore, and ongoing normal replacement stopped.

It needs to be thought of as a $ per year thing, except for new holes such as the Second Avenue Subway.

smottri July 25, 2018 - 10:34 am

What I was trying to say was this: the new Q line, at least in Manhattan, tends to run well and would be considered ‘world class’. The rest of the system merits the same effort that was put into the Second Avenue Subway and if it did benefit from that, then it too would be ‘world class’ because then it too would run decently on time, would have clean stations in good repair. Yes, the Second Avenue Subway took too long to build and at a too-high price. The MTA has to get its costs and methods under control, and that requires a concerted effort by those who control it.

AGTMADCAT July 25, 2018 - 3:56 pm

Sorry mate, but it’s just not a good system. Sure, it’s cheap – I won’t disagree with that. It allows for affordable mobility for a broad swath of the population, which is very important. The 24/7 operation is also quite impressive, however it has a lot of maintenance downsides!

However, it’s by no means a world-class system. Some of the main things preventing this are:
It’s appallingly filthy, smelly, and sticky. World-class systems clean everything constantly. 24/7 operation makes it tough, but there should be massive cleaning crews with power washers hitting all of the busiest stations on a fast rotation. The tiles should be white (or whatever decorative color they’re supposed to be!), not grey and brown. The platforms should not be black with soot. The New York Subway is a disgusting place to be most of the time.
All of the trains are old-fashioned, noisy, and slow. World-class systems are adopting open-gangway train designs, to allow free movement of passengers between cars. World-class systems don’t screech and groan like an automaton is being murdered on every corner. World-class systems invest in automatic train control, moving-block signaling, and other modern technologies to keep trains moving at a constant clip. The NYC city subway is mostly built to a sophistication that was achievable 100 years ago. The most trains-per-hour on any line, during peak service, is 20. Twenty! Meanwhile on the tube, the Victoria line is aiming to be a 90-second railway. That’s 40 trains per hour. And by the gods they’ve very nearly done it. When those “next train” signs say “continuously”, they’re not kidding.

The payment system is a joke. Mag-strips, really? RFID or GTFO, it’s the 21st century. Also how slow are the stupid turnstiles? In world-class systems, the barriers slam open with such speed that a person walking at a fast pace *does not even have to break stride* as they tag their card and hurry through. Never mind just distinct RFID-cards, though – why can’t people just use their contactless credit cards? And while we’re at it, why is it my responsibility to figure out whether or not I should buy a travel pass? If I’m tagging on and off every train or bus or whatever anyway, then the system should work out when I’ve spent as much as a pass, and just stop charging me. Daily, weekly, monthly, whatever – the computer should sort that out in real time as I go.

Then there’s the budgets. The MTA’s farebox recovery is hardly world-class (In either direction!), so it’s both subject to political whims *and* stuck in a permanent cost-cutting mentality. A profitable agency has a lot more freedom to improve its system than an agency that’s always going begging to fickle politicians. Going the other way, a free system can focus exclusively on increasing ridership and satisfaction, without having to worry about pinching pennies. Even putting aside the money-in part of the equation, which is a big and complex issue, the expenditures are preposterous. If the MTA is world-class in anything, it’s in wasting money. Every project comes in late, over-budget, and under-spec. It’s pathetic.

I could go on (the map lol) but I think that’s enough points – the NYC subway is not “world class” any more. When it was built it was a modern marvel – not just world-class but for a time world-beating. But in the last 70 years it’s slipped farther and farther behind, becoming the outmoded relic that we all know today.

There’s hope, though! In many respects the London Underground (And TfL generally) were on this same trajectory until about 20 years ago. But through proper investment and good management, it’s back up to its former world-class glory. The transformation continues, but the new lines, stations, trains, and signals have made a world of difference. There’s no reason New York couldn’t take the same path, and charge back up to the top of the pack in subway system quality.

J Adlai July 31, 2018 - 8:40 am

A lot of valid points here, but it’s worth pointing out that many parts of the subway operate above 20 trains per hour. 30 seems to be the absolute maximum, with many sections topping out around 26-28. This is still not acceptable, but much better than 20 trains per hour.

Thomas Graves July 26, 2018 - 1:01 am

What planet are you on? Have you ever been out of the US and seen a truly world-class subway system in terms of service quality, technology and cleanliness? Granted NY has a large system, though there are several other systems (Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, London)carrying more people or with longer track-miles. But if there’s a ‘world-class’ element to the NY subway, it is the abundance of filth, delays, and general decrepitude that completely eclipses that of any other metro.

smotri July 27, 2018 - 12:32 pm

I suppose I was too enthusiastic or optimistic to use ‘world class’. If the rest of the subway system were on a par with what we now have here along Second Avenue, the system would be ‘decent’. I’ve lived in Paris and used the metro on a daily basis, lived in Seoul and used its metro on a daily basis, used other subways in a variety of other cities in the world and in the US.

Alon Levy July 26, 2018 - 1:41 am

$2.75 is really not cheap. Over here, if you buy a bundle of 10 tickets, each costs €1.45 within the city. If you get a monthly pass, that’s €75.20 metro area-wide. And there’s fare integration, so you can take commuter rail within the city for the same fare as the Metro, because somehow the RATP-SNCF pissing contests didn’t end up the way the subway-LIRR/Metro-North ones did.

Adirondacker12800 July 26, 2018 - 7:21 pm

Contests in the fevered imaginations of conspiratorial foamers.

t-bo July 26, 2018 - 2:37 pm

The 6 is less crowded but no less grim. And let’s see what happens when East Midtown is built up with no additional train capacity.

Bobbo July 24, 2018 - 9:45 am

Does weekend work take place throughout the entire time the MTA alters service on a line (usually until 5 on Monday morning)? If not, maybe the changes could be a bit more palatable if the the time the lines were closed better reflected when the construction was actually taking place.

sonicboy678 July 24, 2018 - 5:05 pm

The equipment also needs to be moved, hence why the closures last for longer than the actual work periods.

J Adlai July 31, 2018 - 8:36 am

I personally worked on many GOs that utilized 12-15 hours of a 53 hour continuous weekend GO. It’s a problem.

Brian Berke July 24, 2018 - 10:15 am

This summer there have been many subway cars on the 6 train without a/c. Shades of the 80’s which is the direction the whole system is going. Not to mention the number of beggers going car to car on the R, N or W trains.

sonicboy678 July 24, 2018 - 5:10 pm

Considering the rolling stock and yard, I’m not surprised. A bunch of R62As at 240th were briefly out of service a couple of weeks ago or so precisely for improvements to the air conditioning systems. Westchester? Maintenance is a foreign concept.

John A. Noble July 24, 2018 - 12:11 pm

We’re already starting to see the results of decreased ridership. I ride the R train, and the June 2018 printed schedule (which we all know the MTA doesn’t observe anyway) has noticeably fewer trains. Weekend headways are up to 12 minutes. More disturbingly, there’s now a *scheduled* gap of about 11 minutes at 95th Street between 8 and 8:15 am – right in the heart of rush hour! That’s just one example.

Will July 24, 2018 - 8:56 pm

Phase 2 should be built using the existing infrastructure but as not going under the lex instead just terminating at the footprint of the lex with island platform. Plus with tracks heading to the Bronx to connect to the Pelham line and Dyer Ave line like it was intended That will control the cost significantly

Larry Littlefield July 25, 2018 - 10:19 am

Going under the Lex gets you to Park Avenue, for a quick change from Metro North.

Which might be useful for those from the northern suburbs and commuting to the hospital/Rockefeller University complex on the Upper East Side, nearly all of whom probably drive today.

Will July 25, 2018 - 10:44 pm

Just built a transfer station with walkable people movers but don’t go underneath the lex.

Larry Littlefield July 26, 2018 - 1:22 pm

Don’t think we’ll be getting those again after Court Square.

Also, if you don’t go under then you are looking at two long blocks, because you’d need tail tracks. At that point you might as well just leave it on Second and lose the Lex/Metro North connection altogether.

Will July 28, 2018 - 12:42 pm

Yes you make the curve and make it to Lexington Avebut you don’t go deep under 125 st. Plus park Ave is real close to the station

Will July 30, 2018 - 1:37 pm

7 line had tail tracks when it terminated at Times Sq. But never used and had still 26 tph

J Adlai July 31, 2018 - 8:39 am

The tail tracks are not just for storage of trains. They allow for trains to enter the terminal at higher speeds, since the tracks allow for overruns if the train fails to stop.

Will August 2, 2018 - 9:15 am

The L never have issues of overrunning the 8ave terminal or the 2/5 in Flatbush stop making excuses to run up the price

VLM August 2, 2018 - 10:42 am

Amazing. Every word of what you just said was wrong.

Tail tracks are operational best practices that would allow the MTA to significantly increase capacity by allowing trains to enter at speed. The problem isn’t overrunning the terminal in practice; it’s ensuring that trains can enter a stop without worrying about flying into a block. Plus, tail tracks (i.e., tunnel boring) isn’t where the real cost problems are. Speak not of what you don’t know.

Willi August 4, 2018 - 10:32 pm

But like I said you don’t need tail tracks when other lines that terminate like L and 2/5 don’t use tail tracks. Why go underneath the lex when’s going to cost a fortune

Will August 4, 2018 - 10:37 pm

No the real cost problems is overbuilding the statins when they could just build side platforms stations with elevators near the surface. It’s time to cut cost and make it simpler to build. No tunnel boring but cut and cover and the it will be build a n 3 years not 12 years like they did

Will August 4, 2018 - 10:38 pm

It seems that you don’t know what you talking about

Muni July 24, 2018 - 10:44 pm

Often I go into work on weekends from Brooklyn to midtown. Work will pay my uber fare, but cabs make me incredibly car sick (cab drivers slam the brakes and accelerate incessantly), so I vastly prefer the subway where I feel fine and can even read. But often the subway is rerouted on most of the *many* lines in my area (D/N/R, F, B/Q, 2/3/4/5). And my favorite transit app no longer receives MTA delay/re-route information. Worse still a trip that takes 45m on a weekday can easily involve an extra 30-45m on the weekend between massive headways and constant stalling. Despite my strong desire not to feel nauseous, I’ve recently caved and just order up that cab. I’m sure there are literally a million new yorkers facing similar transit-mode cost-benefit choices each weekend … these numbers show the choice has tilted away from the subway system more often than not recently. Beyond that, I feel more isolated from friends elsewhere in the city these days. i don’t go to other boroughs or even across my own borough unless i’m truly compelled to do so. I often think about moving to a smaller city where I just cave in and buy a car. I’d never drive in NY (it seems miserable to drive here and a huge waste of money and emissions) but it’d likely be fine in a smaller town.

Philip Utley July 30, 2018 - 6:35 pm

I use crackers, especially triscuits, to stop nausea. It works!

Sheldon Burke July 25, 2018 - 1:33 pm

Music in subway stations is a terrible idea. Only people who seldom or never ride the subway, such as the NYC MTA transit agency’s officials, could think it’s a good idea. Many riders dislike certain types of music. While a musician or a band may entertain some passengers, he is also bothering others and people shouldn’t have to listen to music that annoys them. Also, the music often disturbs people who want to read or talk to their companions as well as those who just want peace and quiet.
Bands in some stations play extremely loud amplified music that sounds like the noise in a factory and really annoys passengers. If someone wanted to discourage people from riding the subway, he couldn’t do a better job than some subway musicians.
Musicians not only annoy people, they also create two dangerous situations.
1. Many station platforms are dangerously overcrowded during peak hours as well as some non-peak hours. Musicians increase the danger simply by occupying platform space.
2. Even a low sound level hinders hearing loudspeaker station announcements. It’s essential riders hear these announcements, particularly emergency announcements. Subway musicians make it difficult or impossible to hear these announcements.
The NYC MTA actually encourages musicians and this shows the agency is completely out of touch with subway riders. Playing music in subway stations should be prohibited.

Robin July 25, 2018 - 1:53 pm

Musicians on the subway platforms (not on the train) are a pleasure. I have been riding these trains for over 40 years. I have seen some really first rate musicians in all genres. Anyone so intolerant that they can’t abide by a quality musician of a genre that isn’t their regular, shouldn’t live in NYC.

Sheldon Burke July 25, 2018 - 1:36 pm

An MTA policy designed to help passengers is extremely annoying and helps no one. Passenger standing on subway platforms and riding on subways and buses are usually subject to incessant loudspeaker announcements, literally one every two minutes. Almost all these announcements are insignificant and completely unnecessary; one example is: “Thank you for riding the MTA”.
These announcements disturb people who want to read, listen to music with headphones or talk to their companions, as well as those who just want peace and quiet during their trip. If someone wanted to discourage people from riding public transit, he couldn’t do a better job than the MTA does with its incessant announcements. Only absolutely essential announcements should be made.

Stephen - NYC July 28, 2018 - 8:05 pm

I couldn’t agree more with you.
Another annoyance (big time for me anyway) is the TOUCH YELLOW TAPE TO OPEN DOORS announcement on the new (with the yellow poles) buses. They are also on more and more retrofitted buses. The TOUCH message along with its pals DOORS OPENING, DOORS CLOSING, and the really aggressive, in-your-face STEP AWAY FROM THE DOORS are all completely unnecessary and useless.
I’d rather have a boombox from the good ol’ days than listen to this noise. And unfortunately, my Bose noise canceling headphones don’t consider the human voice to be noise, so it doesn’t block them nor for that matter all the incessant one-sided phone calls I get to hear through them. So, yes, get rid of the ‘musicians’ torturing us on subway platforms and for the love of all that is holy, silence those bus announcements. In the meantime, tell all the bus operators to NOT unlock the rear door unless someone has actually signaled for a stop. My morning bus ride is 20 to 25 minutes of torture as the operator unlocks the rear door even though no one is getting out. At least until the system is turned off, I’d have a quiet morning commute.
To expand on the useless part: if you are blind or otherwise need assistance, you’re not going out the rear door. If you can’t read english or understand english, well, I’m guessing you’re going to ask your family and friends how to get out of the bus door. Or, hey, maybe just watch how folks do it.

Robin July 25, 2018 - 1:56 pm

The only thing we know from the report is that ridership is declining on the weekends, based on the numbers. Everything else said here in the post and comments is speculation.

What do we know for sure: Track work and other repairs are done on weekends which can make traveling more time consuming. Millenials have created little enclaves in their own areas. In the past, one always had to travel to other locations for recreation. Now, many neigbhorhoods have recreation within walking distance. Now the latter, that may not be the cause of subway ridership being down. It’s speculative.

Adirondacker12800 July 25, 2018 - 2:44 pm

You can hover over the smartphone welded to your hand anywhere. You don’t need to travel to do that.

aaron July 26, 2018 - 1:23 pm

The future of transportation is going to change how NYC moves. Driving is going to explode across the city as the confidence falls and the scale of the long term solutions are fully realized.

SEAN July 27, 2018 - 9:16 pm

Doubt it. Once the reality of city clogging traffic from all the Ubers becomes undeniable, people will return to transit & walking.


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