Photo via Colin Mutchler/Flickr
For the second straight year, subway ridership has fallen, reports Time Out New York. Data presented in an MTA Transit Committee meeting this week shows a drop of nearly 30 million trips between 2016 and 2017, or a decrease to 1.727 billion trips last year from 1.756 billion the previous year (though it should be noted this is less than two percent of the total trips taken). Newly appointed transit president Andy Byford attributes the dip to low gas prices and the rise of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. He also told NY1 that poor service may be turning riders away, certainly possible considering that weekdays delays more than tripled between 2012 and 2017.
In 2015, the subway had a record high of 1.762 billion trips. Prior to the 2016 dip, the MTA had not seen a decrease in ridership since 2009. If service is to blame, it’s not surprising. According to a report released in October by the Independent Budget Office, in 2017, “the average number of passenger hours lost to delays systemwide during the work week between 7am and 10am this year grew by 45 percent from 2012, up from 24,000 hours to 35,000 hours.”
MTA spokesperson Shams Tarek is still confident, however, noting that the numbers are still near record highs. “Our focus is on delivering better service. The Subway Action Plan and the [MTA’s] Capital Plan are the immediate and long-term strategies currently in place for doing that,” he said.
Earlier today, we shared news that the MTA board approved $213 million in cosmetic improvements for eight subway stations, despite opposition from the de Blasio administration, who feel that infrastructural improvements should take priority over Governor Cuomo’s larger $1 billion Enhanced Station Initiative agenda. The new plan will equip six Manhattan and two Bronx stations with USB ports, LED lighting, digital countdown clocks, and artwork.
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