Phased Enhancements Geared Toward Providing Additional Service Where Recovery Rates Are Highest
Approximately 2.9 Million Riders Projected to Benefit from Enhanced Weekend Service, Where Average Ridership Is Around 80% of Pre-COVID Baseline
First Phase Slated to Start in July 2023 with Weekend Service Increases on the , and Lines
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today detailed a phased rollout of subway service enhancements, which are expected to begin this summer. With the passage of the FY 2024 New York State Budget, the MTA will receive an additional $35 million for subway service enhancements. These planned enhancements will start with the first phase in July 2023, with the fourth phase expected to be implemented in July 2024.
The planned enhancements focus on periods where subway ridership has recovered the highest from its pre-pandemic baseline. Subway ridership overall continues to recover, with the latest trend showing 3.84 million riders on an average weekday and 1.96 million riders on an average Saturday or Sunday. Weekend ridership has outpaced weekday ridership in its recovery, with weekend ridership nearing 80% of its pre-COVID baseline, compared to weekdays when ridership has been around 60% to 70% of the pre-COVID baseline.
“Discretionary travel has led the ridership recovery on subways, demonstrating that New Yorkers are ready to ride mass transit when they have somewhere to go,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “As we have said throughout this whole process, once the funding is there, we can expand service to better align with post-COVID ridership trends.”
“We listened to riders and in response we’re increasing frequency of trains,” said New York City Transit President Richard Davey. “The goal of these enhancements is to increase service in areas that have recovered faster than the traditional commuting hours to provide the best commuting experience possible for all riders. As these increases are rolled out, we will monitor the trends to ensure we are giving New Yorkers faster, cleaner and safer service.”
Beginning in July, New York City Transit will begin its phased rollout with the following enhancements:
First Phase, July 2023: Weekend Service Increase on , and Lines
Starting in July 2023, New York City Transit will enhance weekend service in Brooklyn and Queens. Under the first phase, weekend service frequency would increase on the , and lines. The service increase would have trains arriving every 8 to 9 minutes instead of every 10 to 11 minutes.
Second Phase, August 2023: Weekday Midday Service Increase on , and Lines; Weekend Increase on and Lines
In August 2023, midday service on the weekdays will be enhanced on the , and lines with train frequencies increasing to every 8 minutes instead of every 10 minutes. On weekends, service on the and lines will increase, with trains arriving every 6 minutes instead of every 8 minutes.
Third Phase, December 2023: Evening Service Increase on , and Lines and Midday Service on Line
To end 2023, evening service on weekdays will increase on the , and lines and midday service will increase on the line. Trains on those lines would arrive every 8 minutes under the enhanced service. Additionally, 6-minute service on the and lines during the weekend would be extended to include more hours of the day.
Fourth Phase, July 2024: Midday and Evening Weekday Service Increases on , , , and Lines
The final phase of the planned service enhancements is scheduled for July 2024, with weekday and evening service increases on the , , and lines. The service increase would have trains arriving every 8 minutes. Additionally, service would be added to the and lines on weekends, with trains arriving every 10 minutes.
An estimated 2.9 million subway riders are expected to benefit from the enhanced service on weekends. In addition, about 800,000 riders are expected to benefit each weekday from the off-peak service enhancements.
New York City Transit explored where additional off-peak service would have the most benefit, focusing primarily on lines with train frequencies of 10 to 12 minutes during off-peak hours. Planned work was taken into consideration when these enhancements were planned to ensure critical state of good repair work and capital work would not be affected.
Weekend service enhancements could also be added to select subway lines, depending on the timing of signal modernization and critical construction work.
“I am encouraged that the MTA is listening to advocacy groups like the Riders Alliance, PCAC, Tri-State Transportation Campaign and others who fought alongside my colleagues and I for increased service frequency,” said State Senator Leroy Comrie. “With the funding provided in this year’s budget, I am pleased to see that the MTA is ‘on track’ to phase in service enhancements and look forward to a continued rebound in ridership as wait times decrease. Our transit improvement coalition will continue to work with the MTA and monitor the progress of phased rollout as it ensues.”
"By dedicating additional funding in this year's budget, New York is investing in improving rider accessibility, experience and service overall," said State Senator Tim Kennedy, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. "I'm pleased to see the MTA promptly roll out a timeline for these enhancements, and I encourage New Yorkers to take full advantage of increased service opportunities this summer."
“The subway is the lifeblood of New York City, and that is why in this year's state budget we made sure to deliver the necessary funding not just to shore up the MTA's financing, but to enhance service as well," said State Senator Liz Krueger. "I am pleased to see MTA swiftly implementing these enhancements as ridership continues to grow toward pre-COVID levels."
“My primary focus in this year’s budget was to ensure long-term financial stability for the MTA and we secured that," said Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, Chair of the Assembly Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee. "I am thrilled that we were also able to provide funding for additional subway service that will be phased in and will eventually benefit millions of New Yorkers. As commuting habits evolve we must provide better service in the less traditional hours and this budget makes an investment in that direction."
“New Yorkers deserve subway service they can rely on,” said NYC Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “The Council has consistently called for more frequent subway service citywide. I am grateful to the MTA for their efforts to shrink wait times and improve rider experience on these lines, and to State legislators for funding improvements in service in this year’s budget.”
“The historic transit funding deal at the heart of this year's state budget will meaningfully improve the lives of millions of New Yorkers who depend on subways and buses each day," said Riders Alliance Executive Director Betsy Plum. "Riders give thanks to Governor Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders for the sustainable new MTA revenue, more subway service and faster, more reliable buses. We look forward to savoring these victories in time savings, easier commutes, and a more equitable New York for years to come."
“Riders have major service improvements coming their way thanks to the transformative transit investments featured in this year’s budget,” said Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC) Lisa Daglian. “We can’t thank Governor Hochul, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Heastie enough for putting transit and its millions of riders first—and the MTA for creating a plan to increase service on nights, weekends, and during the day. These increased frequencies reflect the changes in when we ride and also take advantage of the investment in CBTC to allow for better and faster movement. Riders entered this budget season facing a devastating fiscal cliff, and came out victorious with substantial investments in more reliable subway and bus service, in addition to long-term dedicated operating funding—the key to ensuring the long-term vitality of our transit system.”
"New York's beleaguered straphangers have gotten good news with the MTA's plan for enhanced service. The increase in service will continue to strengthen the city's economy, improving transportation accessibility, equity and reliability for more New Yorkers," said Director of Equity of Resiliency and Equity Projects at NYPIRG Natasha Elder. "NYPIRG thanks Governor Hochul and state lawmakers for approving the needed funding to make this a reality."
"The significant investment in subway service made in this year's budget is a win for our city and a win for our planet," said Executive Director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign Renae Reynolds. "Thanks to the leadership of Governor Hochul and our legislators in Albany, millions of transit-dependent New Yorkers will experience a significant boost in service as soon as this summer. The MTA makes a significant contribution towards reducing New York's carbon footprint, and this landmark investment in transit service is critical to meet our state's climate goals."