By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The NYC subway system is the largest rapid-transit system in the world by number of stations – 468, or 421 if you count stations with free transfers between different lines as single stations.
Recently, MTA New York City Transit came out with a list of subway ridership by station, using data from 2012 (the last full year available) and comparing it with other years. The list can be found at the MTA website. Since there are so many stations in Brooklyn, to address each one would be time consuming. Still, it’s fun to look for trends.
First, let’s look for large increases or decreases between 2011 and 2012. Several stations had double-digit increases over the previous year. Among them are 15th Street-Prospect Park on the F line, Fort Hamilton Parkway on the F line, Avenue H on the Q line and Avenue M on the Q line.
When one clicks on a few links, the reasons become obvious. These stations were all closed at various times during 2011 for repairs.
Fifteenth Street Prospect Park and Fort Hamilton Parkway were both closed in the Manhattan-bound direction from January to May 2011, and were closed in the Coney Island-bound direction for almost the entire year of 2011. Avenue H and Avenue M were both closed roughly 9 out of 12 months in 2011 going toward Manhattan, although repairs to the other side of the station were completed in 2010.
Ridership at the Knickerbocker Avenue station on the M train decreased 38.2 percent from 2011 to 2012 because the entire station was closed from August 2012 until February 2013. And readers of this paper should know why ridership at Smith-9th Streets on the F and G lines decreased 100 percent – it was closed for the entire year of 2012.
What about Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center? According to an MTA press release dated Feb. 3, 2013, ridership to and from the Long Island Railroad’s Atlantic Terminal (connected to the subway station by tunnel) jumped a whopping 334 percent since Barclays opened in late September! But ridership at the subway station only increased 7.5 percent from 2011 to 2012.
Even if Barclays was only open in the last three months of the year or so, that number seems a little low. This bears some thought. My theory is that the rail line to Atlantic Terminal was sparsely traveled beforehand, so the increased traffic from Barclays had more of an impact there than it did on the already crowded subway lines that converge at Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center.
Now let’s look at station rankings, with a focus on Brooklyn stations that rank in the top 50 system-wide. The aforementioned Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center was Number 25 in ridership. With nine lines feeding into it, a connection to the railroad and to the arena itself, this should be no surprise. Bedford Avenue on the L line ranked Number 38. This is also no surprise, given the explosive growth of new residential buildings in Williamsburg.
Court Street-Borough Hall, served by several lines, ranked 28th in the system. It’s the gateway to the court system, government offices, and many banks and office buildings. Jay Street-MetroTech ranked 36th for similar reasons – it’s the entryway to the MetroTech office complex and the Fulton Mall.
Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue only ranked 93rd, but Coney is only a big destination during the summer.
Putting together this analysis of subway-station ridership figures was fun for me, and I hope you enjoyed it too.