NYCT subway ridership reaches highest point in nearly 70 years

Last year, MTA New York City Transit‘s (NYCT) subway system logged an annual ridership of 1.763 billion, marking the agency’s highest ridership since 1948.

The figure marks a 0.6 percent increase compared with 2014’s numbers, NYCT officials said in a press release.

In addition, 2015 weekday ridership nudged up 0.9 percent to 5.7 million, while weekend ridership fell 0.7 percent to 5.9 million.

Weekday ridership changes were “fairly evenly distributed” by borough last year, agency officials said. At Manhattan and Queens stations, ridership rose 0.9 percent, matching the systemwide increase. Brooklyn and Bronx station entries increased by 1.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

The entire subway system carried more than 6 million riders on 49 separate weekdays, NYCT officials said.

“As subway ridership surges along with New York City’s population, the increased number of customers creates challenges for the MTA to operate the subway system while minimizing delays, crowding and inconvenience,” agency officials said. “The subway system has traditionally performed maintenance work during off-peak hours, which are now experiencing record ridership.”

Weekend ridership along the “A” line, for instance, increased 9.6 percent.

Meanwhile, NYCT on Monday announced plans to increase scheduled service on its “2” subway line in light of substantial weekend ridership growth.

By fall, the agency will add a total of 31 extra round trips on Saturdays and 18 additional trips on Sundays on the line.

Last year, nearly every station served by the 2 Line logged increased ridership. The most significant jump in ridership — 13.6 percent — occurred at the East 180th Street Station in the Bronx.

“As ridership continues to soar, it becomes more challenging to provide service while doing the necessary work to keep the system in a state of good repair,” stated the press release. “Despite those challenges and in response to increased ridership demand, [NYCT] evaluated weekend service patterns to find opportunities for increasing trip frequency while accommodating ongoing capital work and critical maintenance work.”

The agency also plans to increase the 7 Line’s service on weekday evenings, prior to the start of construction-related service diversions. In particular, NYCT is adding two round trips between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on that line.

Implementation of both service additions is slated to begin in fall, depending on crew and schedule changes that will be finalized in the coming months. The cost of these changes is $2.5 million annually and has been included in the agency’s 2016 operating budget, NYCT officials said.

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