The MTA—our savior, our friend, our enemy, our betrayer—released data from an annual report that showed subway ridership surging 2.6 percent from 2013 to 2014, reaching levels not seen since the end of World War II. The neighborhoods with the highest increase in passengers were Bushwick and Long Island City, Queens.
Last year, the subway system had 1.751 billion riders—some 5.6 million people on an average weekday and six million people during the weekend. “At its busiest, the subway system carried more than six million customers on 29 weekdays in the last four months of 2014 – a level not seen since the post-World War II boom,” the MTA report states. No wonder the subway is such a shitshow.
While officials claim that the increase in ridership is due to “the city’s population growth, an improved economy and more reliable train service,” there is also concern that the subway system will become too broken and too overcrowded to handle the increase in passengers. MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast gave a few solutions in the report to combat delays:
“The renaissance of the New York City subway is a miracle for those who remember the decrepit system of the 1970s and the 1980s, but moving more than 6 million customers a day means even minor disruptions now can create major delays,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “We are aggressively working to combat delays and improve maintenance, but the ultimate solution requires investing in infrastructure upgrades such as Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) signaling systems to accommodate every one of our growing number of customers.”
Unfortunately, there is still a $15 billion funding gap in the MTA’s five-year capital plan that may curb these improvements from happening. The likelihood that any of us will see a 2nd Avenue subway line in our lifetime is looking slimmer with every swipe of our overpriced Metrocards.