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MTA Reports Subway Ridership at Highest Since 1949

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TWC News: MTA Reports Subway Ridership at Highest Since 1949
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The MTA says its latest figures show subway ridership at its highest since Harry Truman was president in 1949. Transit Reporter Jose Martinez filed the following report.

Yes, that subway car is every bit as packed as it feels.

Credit another bump in annual ridership, now at its highest level in more than half a century.

"Folks are coming back to the subway in droves. For the first time in decades, we've seen annual ridership top 1.7 billion people, which is a tremendous amount of people using our subway system,” said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz.

On Monday, the MTA released its annual ridership statistics, which point to more crowding on platforms and in trains, even at off-peak hours.

"Essentially, we're seeing a large amount of ridership any time after 8 p.m. and even into the overnight hours,” said Ortiz.

Nowhere is that more evident than on the L, where ridership increased at every single station on the line and the most among all the subway lines.

"At midnight on a weekday, it's like Grand Central Terminal in some of these stations. It's just packed with customers,” said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign.

The L added more than 6,000 riders on weekdays and the MTA added more service on the line as it ran through Manhattan and into Brooklyn. And the G, which runs between Brooklyn and Queens, experienced a weekday spike of more than 2,200 riders.

No Brooklyn station drew more riders in 2013 than Barclays Center-Atlantic Yards, where the MTA's message to take mass transit to the arena that opened in September 2012 seems to have caught on.

"It's a lot more traffic. It's a lot more people on the subway cars, a lot more people getting on and off the trains. It's a lot more populated,” said one New Yorker.

Back when it was just plain old Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street, it was still one of the busiest subway stations in Brooklyn. But with a full year of Nets basketball and concerts taking place at the Barclays Center, ridership in 2013 soared by more than 4,200 riders a day, according to the MTA.

"It's very crowded on game nights, different shows that come here, it's always crowded. But that gives us the business for New York,” said another New Yorker.

Now good luck finding a seat on that train.

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