After a “meteoric rise in ridership” on the L train, straphangers will finally get a bit of a reprieve from their regularly overcrowded weekend commute, officials said Monday.
The MTA said it would increase weekend service by mid 2012 and add one morning rush-hour train on the L line starting in December. The agency, though, didn’t specify how many trains would be added on the weekend.
The number of L train riders shot up by 141% on the weekend since 1998, according to MTA data. Average ridership increased by 53 percent on other lines during the same period.
“While we have previously added some service, our ability to further reduce crowding has been constrained by the old-technology signal system which is currently in the process of being replaced with a new state-of-the art system,” MTA spokesman Charles Seaton said in an email.
The announcement came after the MTA gave a report to state Senator Daniel Squadron, who had requested the cash-strapped agency to do a review of weekend service on its F and L lines in July.
In the report, the agency said up to 17 trains run each hour under its old signal system. After upgrading is complete, as many as 20 trains could run, but only if deemed necessary. The MTA didn’t say whether its frequent service diversions for track work on the line would lessen once the new system is installed.
In its report to Squadron’s office, the MTA said extra weekend service on the F line is “not possible,” since tracks are shared other trains.
Regardless, Squadron (D-Manhattan) praised the MTA, saying the added service on the L line “will make a difference for thousands of riders.”
Follow reporter Marc Beja on Twitter: @Marc_Beja