Last night I went to the Upper East Side for a book club I’m part of. I rode the Second Ave. Subway Q-train to get there. When our train left 63rd and Lex around 7:30, it was jam packed. Not the most crush loaded I’ve seen, but pretty crowded. And New York subway trains, especially on the B-division lettered lines, are very high capacity.
I decided to quickly Google up ridership on the Second Ave. Subway extension – a mere four stops if you count 63/Lex – and found that back in May it was already up to 176,000 daily riders. The entire 90-mile Dallas light rail system, the longest light rail system in the country, only carries around 100,000 daily riders. In fact, that’s more than all but two light rail systems in the country, Boston’s (the Green Line is classified as light rail there) and LA’s, and not by much (226,500 and 211,700 respectively).
The cost of the Second Ave. Subway is indefensible. But it’s obvious that there’s massive rail ridership demand along that corridor to justify building a subway. Four stops on that one small extension basically has more ridership than most complete light rail systems in the US.
I love trains. I like to ride them. I try to take trains and transit whenever possible. Unfortunately, they just don’t make sense in most cities where they weren’t put in place a long time ago.