Subway service on New York City’s No. 1 and No. 6 lines is to get a boost this weekend when they become the latest in a dozen lines expected to run more frequently thanks to an infusion of state cash.
Weekend riders of the two ex-IRT locals can expect to wait no longer than six minutes in between trains, MTA officials said Wednesday, down from an average eight minute wait.
“It might not seem like much, but when you’re standing on a hot platform, those minutes really add up,” said MTA chair Janno Lieber, addressing reporters at the northbound kiosk of the Astor Place 6-train station Wednesday.
State lawmakers earmarked $35 million towards more frequent subway service in this year’s MTA budget. The money has already provided more frequent weekend service on the G, J and M lines, and more frequent weekday service on the C.
“We’ve said this whole time that once the funding is there, we’d look to expand service outside of the weekday peaks,” Lieber said.
Weekend service increases have been prioritized because weekend ridership has rebounded from pre-COVID levels more quickly, the MTA head added.
“Routinely on the weekends you have 80% — and sometimes 90% — of pre-COVID ridership,” Lieber said.
“Weekdays tend to linger around 70%.”
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By year’s end, the MTA plans to further expand service on the C and G lines, as well as add more trains to the N and R lines.
The J, M, B and D lines are slated to get additional weekday trains by the summer of 2024.
Asked why the additional trains weren’t all added at once, Rich Davey, president of NYC Transit, said the MTA needed more staff to operate them.
“It’s a crew question,” Davey said. “To train a train operator takes nine months; conductors, it’s a couple of months.”
“That’s why we’ve been doing it on a rolling basis.”
To that end, the MTA has hired 248 train operators and 220 conductors so far this year, according to the agency’s subway head, Demetrius Crichlow.
“We’re also working diligently to hire additional trainers to increase the number of groups in a class and increase the graduating class sizes for both train operators and conductors,” Crichlow said.