Even though NYC’s MTA is facing service cutbacks due to a $1.2B budget shortfall, ridership in 2008 exceeded levels not seen since 1950.
Ridership on New York City’s subways was the most in almost six decades in 2008, even as growth began to slow because of the economic slump, according to statistics released today. Bus and subway ridership combined increased 3.1 percent to 2.37 billion, the highest since 1965, continuing a trend in the biggest U.S. city that started in 2004. At the same time, “growth slowed considerably toward the end of the year due to the declining economy,” New York City Transit said in a statement. Average weekday bus and subway ridership was up 3.6 percent for the first nine months of the year from the same period in 2007, and then rose 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter, the statement said. Subway ridership rose 3.9 percent to 1.62 billion, the highest since 1950, with the number of weekday passengers on the L train — the so-called “Hipster Express” between Manhattan and Brooklyn’s artsy enclaves — increasing 8.5 percent, the most of any line.
Two major subway construction projects are underway in Manhattan – an extension of the 7 train to 11th Avenue and the long-overdue Second Avenue line, which will have much of the UES torn up for the next five years or so.