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Second Avenue Subway ridership numbers prove the line's popularity

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Since its launch on January 1, the number of riders have increased by 8,000 each week

Max Touhey

Though it might not have been quite the roaring success the MTA anticipated, the Second Avenue subway has still gotten off to a great start, new ridership numbers released by the agency have revealed.

Since its launch on January 1, ridership numbers have grown by about 8,000 people per week, and the numbers stood at 155,000 daily riders when the MTA recorded the figures on January 27.

The New York Times reports that the numbers have climbed from about 83,000 riders on the first day of service to the current figure, though that number is still a little shy of the 200,000 that the agency had predicted (it sure seems like it will get there soon though).

“The Second Avenue Subway has already become an integral part of the Upper East Side and these ridership figures show just how important this expansion project is to the neighborhood and our economy,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, said in a statement. “This project is proof that government can still get big things done and these early ridership numbers send a clear message that when we deliver on our promises New Yorkers respond.”

Max Touhey for Curbed

Not only are the ridership numbers a good sign for the MTA, but they also seem be alleviating the stressful commute for a majority of the riders on the Lexington Avenue Line. That didn’t necessarily seem to be the case early on. The 4,5, and 6 lines experience the largest number of crowds in the city—with the combined ridership on those lines outpacing the number of travelers on Washington, D.C. and Chicago’s subways combined.

Early data has now revealed that average ridership numbers on the Lexington line have fallen from 327,440 in January 2016 to 240,270 in January this year. Most of the commuters The Times spoke with said that while the platforms may not have cleared up as much, they can now wait for a shorter time to actually board the train. On average there has been a 46 percent decline in riders on the Lexington line between 8 a.m—9 a.m. on weekdays from the same time last year, according to the MTA.

Among the new stations on the Second Avenue subway, the 72nd Street stop has seen the most number of daily riders at 51,450, with the 86th Street, 96th Street, and 63rd Street (transfers) stations following in that order. The ridership data was gleaned from MetroCard swipes and surveys conducted by NYC Transit personnel.

Max Touhey

“The opening of the Second Avenue Subway was a singular event, and New Yorkers have been quick to embrace the new line, with ridership climbing quickly,” MTA’s interim executive director, Ronnie Hakim, said in a statement. “The fact that so many daily riders are using the new line has also helped to ease crowding during the morning rush at key stations on the Lexington Avenue line, making commuting easier, faster and better for thousands of New Yorkers.”


Watch: The opening of the Second Avenue Subway