Confirming what everyone who has taken the subway over the last year has been feeling/complaining about, the MTA announced Monday that ridership on our city's sprawling subway system hit a 65-year high in 2014 with over 1.75 billion -- yes, billion with a 'b' -- customers, or a 2.6% increase over the year before. In the last four months of 2014, daily subway ridership surpassed 6 million people on 29 different weekdays, which the MTA said hasn't happened since the period after World War II. For perspective, that 6 million daily MTA ridership is more than double the population of Chicago.
Unsurprisingly, the surge in New Yorkers cramming themselves onto the trains has strained the system and has left the MTA grappling with delays, overcrowding, and increased demand even during off-peak hours when MTA crews do maintenance work -- you know, like the L train work every weekend until May 18th. At this point, minor disruptions on the subway lines can lead to "major delays," MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said in a statement. The solution is to upgrade the subway's aging infrastructure and install new, improved signaling systems, he said.