If you feel like your subway rides are starting to feel more and more like squeezing into a sweaty sardine can, you’re right on the money. According to the MTA, ridership is at an all-time high with 149 million passengers cramming into cars during the month of September alone. The MTA also met another milestone last month on September 23rd, when a whopping 6,106,694 took to the rails—this is the most of any day since ridership was first tracked in 1985; and it broke last year’s record of 5,987,595 passengers on October 24th.
The MTA credits increased employment, a growing population and improved services, including additional trains throughout the day for many lines, for the uptick. “This is a phenomenal achievement for a system that carried 3.6 million daily customers just 20 years ago.” said MTA chair Tom Prendergast in a statement. “As ridership increases, the MTA Capital Program is vital.”
The MTA Capital Program Prendergast speaks of is a five-year, $32 billion plan that will fund new subway cars, higher-capacity signal systems and improved stations. As these improvements go, the MTA can afford to pay for just half of it and is counting on the state to make up the difference. Though the plan has already been rejected, Governor Cuomo isn’t discouraged. In the meantime, might we suggest the East River Skyway as a less costly alternative?