Subway and Bus Ridership Sets Record

Ridership on the City’s subways is at its highest level since 1950. And the L train has the fastest growing ridership:

The subway line with the largest weekday growth from 2007 to 2008 was the L line, with an 8.5 percent increase in ridership. Seven stations, situated all along the line, had more than 10 percent growth: First Avenue in Manhattan, and the Bedford, Wilson, Bushwick (Aberdeen Street), Atlantic, Livonia and New Lots stations in Brooklyn. Weekday ridership on the L line has grown 29 percent since 2003 and 79 percent since 1998 [emphasis added].

79%! In 10 years, ridership on the L has almost doubled. But that’s no surprise to the TA:

“The L line’s growth is not surprising, given that it has been the fastest growing line in the system for years,” said Howard H. Roberts Jr., president of New York City Transit.

Ever hear the phrase “past performance is no guarantee of future results”? Sounds like MTA’s long-range planning involves looking at what happened last year and waiting to see if it happens again this year. I guess City Planning forgot to tell the MTA that they were adding 10,000 housing units to the Brooklyn side of the L line. Even with a slowing economy, you have to figure someone is going to live in these buildings that are still going up at the rate of two or three per block. And you also have to figure that a lot of these people are going to be taking the L train to Manhattan (or Bushwick).

And its not just the L – ridership at the Bowery Station of the J/(formerly)M/Z line was up 16%. I’d like to see the stats for the rest of the line – Bowery is one of the least used stations in the system (the TA was talking about closing it 5 years ago), so any increase would be statistically significant. But I suspect ridership on the J/M/Z is up pretty substantially overall. Its certainly a lot more crowded at Marcy Ave. in the morning.