By Zach Campbell
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
BROOKLYN — This week the MTA released its yearly ridership data for 2011, which, when broken down by line, shows a surge in north and central Brooklyn’s ridership to nearly double the average for the whole system.
MTA data shows a 2.5 percent increase in ridership from last year, totaling some 350 million rides taken. While the MTA keeps extensive ridership numbers, they only represent where straphangers enter the train system —there is no data on the average length of trip.
The Brooklyn sections of the G and J/M/Z lines both showed a jump in ridership from 2010 — both up by close to 6 percent. While these lines only account for one-fifth of all entries into the Brooklyn subways, the increase in ridership was substantial.
These lines all mainly serve northern Brooklyn, an area where there has been a large increase in the number of residents due to residential construction in Williamsburg, Bushwick and Greenpoint.
Brooklyn sections of the A, C, F, L and R all increased ridership by about 3 percent from 2010. Q train ridership within the borough fell 1 percent from the year before, despite the line’s multiple station closures in 2010.
A spokesperson for the MTA confirmed that the G, in particular, has rapidly increased its ridership in the last year. While the agency does use this data to adjust train lengths and frequency on a quarterly basis, to better serve riders, it is unclear how the jump in ridership will affect the fate of the G line extension.
Ridership data does show spikes in use along the temporarily extended section of the G line — the stops at Fourth Avenute/Ninth Street and Church Avenue avenue both saw an increase in ridership nearly four times the system average from the year before. Both are heavy bus transfer points.
The G extension train from Smith-Ninth Streets to Church Avenue is due to expire in two years at the completion of repair work on the Culver Viaduct, and the MTA has not made clear whether it will continue service to Church Avenue on the line. Nearby communities have been railing for the extension to be made permanent, saying it has made travel much more convienient and that it would be a shame to cut the only inter-Brooklyn train line.