According to a statement today released by State Senator Daniel Squadron, the MTA will be improving weekend service on the L train, with more frequent trains expected starting in mid 2012. Squadron had requested a review back in July of the service; the results show that the much-maligned line has, as many an L-train rider could tell you, not kept up with the “meteoric” rise in ridership, which has “increased by 141% since 1998 — while service has only increased by 58% on Saturdays and 52% on Sundays.” That growth in ridership is three times the rate of the rest of the subway system.
That explains, and makes, for some very full, very unpleasant trains. Plus, those riders still want to ride back and forth on weekends, particularly compared to other neighborhoods, which means there’s not a drop-off on Saturdays and Sundays and, in fact, there may be more folks heading to and from Williamsburg on a Saturday night than on a Tuesday morning.
From Squadron’s office:
“As ridership and our communities change and grow, our transit system cannot be stuck on the nine-to-five clock,” said Senator Squadron. “Improving weekend L service is a step toward a subway system that keeps up with its riders every day of the week.
“I’m pleased that the MTA has heeded my call and plans to add additional L trains on weekends. The MTA’s willingness to review service and issue this report shows true transparency and responsiveness.”
From the MTA:
We were pleased to share with Senator Squadron our ongoing review of the L Line, which has the fastest growing ridership in the system. While we have previously added some service, our ability to further reduce crowding has been constrained by the old-technology signal system which is currently in the process of being replaced with a new state-of-the art system. This will allow us to increase the line’s capacity and efficiency, and we are looking at the possibility of increasing rush hour and weekend L service next year when this is complete.
The New York Times reports that there will be an extra train added between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on weekdays, to ease the load on Manhattan-bound trains, starting in December. Also, the new computerized system to be finished early next year will allow for more trains in the system by the middle of 2012.
In the meantime, a tip: the cars at the back are less crowded, thanks to the phenomenon of pre-walking.
The bad news, for F train riders: The MTA has concluded that a weekend service increase on the F train is not possible at this time.