By Scott Etkin
This week, the MTA announced plans to improve weekend service on several lines – including some that run through the Upper West Side — thanks to $35 million allocated from the FY 2024 New York State Budget.
The changes focus on subway lines with ridership that has “recovered the highest from [their] pre-pandemic baseline,” as well as those with “train frequencies of 10 to 12 minutes during off-peak hours,” according to the announcement.
The schedule changes will take a phased approach, starting this summer and continuing over the next 12 months. Here are the updates relevant to the UWS:
- Beginning in August 2023, weekend service on the 1 line will increase, with trains arriving every 6 minutes instead of every 8 minutes.
- Beginning in December 2023, 1 line trains running every 6 minutes during the weekend would be extended to include more hours of the day.
- Beginning in July 2024, weekday and evening service on the B line will increase to arriving every 8 minutes. Weekend service on the 3 line will increase to arriving every 10 minutes.
Subway ridership data gives an interesting view of the state of the city’s recovery. The latest numbers show that people have returned to riding the subway faster on weekends than during the week. Weekend ridership is nearing 80% of its pre-Covid baseline, whereas weekdays are at 60-70%.
The MTA also recently announced that the subway system carried 4.02 million riders on Wednesday May 3rd, the highest single-day number since March 2020. Prior to the pandemic, however, ridership was well above this mark. In 2019, the average weekday ridership was 5.4 million