MTA adds trains to Brooklyn's L line

People ride the New York City subway into People ride the New York City subway into Manhattan during the morning commute in New York City. (Sept. 9, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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North Brooklyn straphangers are finally getting a break.

The MTA will add nearly 100 trains each week along the L line starting Sunday, providing much-needed service for the route, which has seen sardine-like conditions for more than a decade.

Starting this weekend, 16 additional round trips will run each weekday, 11 more will go on Saturdays and another seven on Sundays, an MTA spokesman said.

Although ridership has exploded along the L line in recent years -- more than doubling since 1998 -- the MTA had increased the number of trains over the same time by only about 50 percent.

The agency recently improved the signal system along the L line, allowing trains to run more frequently. It is currently doing similar work on the No. 7 line.

"Our work to improve signals continues to bear fruit and improve service for our customers," MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said Thursday. "This should ease overcrowding on a line that serves continuously growing populations in Williamsburg, Bushwick and Canarsie."

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The MTA has struggled to meet its own guidelines for how many riders should be on each train. The "maximum load" for its eight-car trains is supposed to be 1,160 on weekdays and 430 people on weekends.

But rush-hour trains during the week have been above capacity nearly every year since 1998, agency documents show. With the extra trains, weekday rush-hour service will go from 110 percent capacity to 98 percent. On weekday nights, the added service is still expected to leave trains over capacity.

The new service will cost $1.7 million annually, under a plan approved by the MTA's board in October.

State Sen. Daniel Sqaudron, who had pushed the MTA to add service along the L and F lines, said he was happy Brooklyn residents would be a little less cramped on the often-packed subways.

"This is not going to be the silver bullet, but this is real good news for L train riders," Squadron said Thursday. "Anyone tired of the crushing crowds and overflowing trains will now have an L train trip less likely to feel like hell."

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