L train overcrowding to ease, says NYC MTA

Since 1998, Manhattan-bound L trains have been over capacity every year but one.

BROOKLYN -- Ridership of New York City's L train has exploded in recent years, growing 141 percent since in the last decade. Train service, on the other hand, hasn't been able to keep up. Since 1998, Manhattan-bound L trains have been over capacity every year but one, according to a study by the MTA, creating a sardine-can experience for residents who take the route from 14th Street in Manhattan to growing Brooklyn neighborhoods like Williamsburg or Bushwick.

After years of up close and personal commuting, relief is finally on the way. Starting today, the MTA will be adding an additional 16 round trips each weekday, 11 round trips on Saturday, and seven round trips on Sunday to ease congestion.

“Anyone tired of crushing crowds and overflowing trains will now have an L trip less likely to feel like hell,” said state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Williamsburg), pushed for the $1.7 million fix.

Squadron is far from alone in his frustration with the route. Understanding the love-hate relationship many Brooklyn residents have for the train requires nothing more than a stroll into the online rating site, Yelp. Here are some of the most recent greatest hits (edited for brevity):

Melissa L. of New York, NY, Feb. 15, 2012: "Every. Single. Time. I get on this godforsaken train, I immediately play the Final Fantasy Victory song in my head, because I just conquered the ultimate end-game boss known as 'The 20 Minute Wait' and got the fattest loot possible in the form of hipster sensory overload."

Jane K. of New York, NY, March 10, 2012"Somewhere between love and hate runs a train named L...Unfortunately, I'm not the only person who feels this way. During rush hour, I've waited for two rounds of trains to pass before finally wriggling into a tiny edge space in the people polluted cars. I love that they give you a time estimate; something about knowing a train will be there in 3 minutes gives me endless calm...The L is my New York, and while it's over-populated, smelly, expensive, and sometimes infuriating -- it's also one of the most fascinating rides of your life."

Eric P. Canal St. New York, March 16, 2012: "This is my favorite subway line. The trains run very often and quick commute from union sq. to Brooklyn. Only drawback is how crowded it gets into the city during rush hour!! They say it's the fastest growing line- MTA -Add more trains...pul-ease;)"

[New York Times and DNA Info]

Photo: Matthew Rutledge/Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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