Weekend transit use has increased by up to 50% since 2000

In New York City, subway ridership is up, especially on weekends. In Brooklyn, L trains have been getting more and more crowded on the weekends, as hipster crowds flock to (and from) Williamsburg and other gentrifying areas.  This has prompted the MTA to run trains more frequently on the weekends.

The same general trend is at work in the Garden State.

NJ Transit’s weekend ridership surged between 2005-2008, after which it has largely plateaued with a slow economy and then fare hikes.Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 9.31.18 PM

Sunday ridership on the NJ Transit system (bus, light rail, and train) stood in the 190 thousands before 2005.  Now, Sunday ridership is about 300,000.  Saturday ridership has also risen by about 100,000.

While NJ Transit has added more weekend service on many bus lines and now runs weekend trains at far better frequencies than it did 10 years ago, this isn’t universally true.  Ridership has grown despite service cutbacks, like those on the Morris & Essex lines, where weekend trains run once an hour instead of twice an hour as they did in 2002.

Path ridership has also grown considerablyon  weekends, although it fell after FY2013 because of Sandy-related closures.

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 9.34.55 PMWeekend Path ridership also took a dip in 2002 and 2003, when the downtown tubes were closed. But all in all, Sunday and Saturday ridership has been on a steady upward tick. See more about recent trends in Path ridership here.

Now, South Jersey.

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 9.08.00 PM

While nowhere neat the scale of its Northern counterparts, PATCO ridership has increased significantly in the past 10 years.  After declining since the mid-90s, ridership on weekends is back up.  From about 6,500 in 2002, Sunday ridership has broken 9,000.  Saturday ridership is also up.

However, the data is only available through fiscal year 2013.  Starting in January 2014, PATCO began a track rehabilitation project on the Ben Franklin Bridge, which required cutting weekend service.  Trains usually run every 15 minute son Saturday and every 20 on Sunday, but are now down to a 30 minute headway.  We’ll have to wait and see if this retards weekend ridership growth.

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