The MTA has revealed the subway stations, train lines, and bus routes that have seen the highest ridership in 2023, days before the start of the new year.
The busiest subway line this year has been the 6 line, which runs between Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall in lower Manhattan and Pelham Bay Park in the northeast Bronx. The MTA estimates the 6 will have transported 140 million passengers by the end of 2023, more than the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North combined.
As for the most trafficked subway station, the MTA collected data on both MetroCard swipes and OMNY taps. Flushing-Main Street on the 7 line had the most MetroCard swipes through November, at 6.3 million, while the record for OMNY is held by Grand Central-42nd Street, which recorded 5.4 million contactless taps.
The MTA finished installing OMNY in the transit system in 2020, but only about 45% of subway riders and 30% of bus riders use it on any given weekday. The laggard uptake is largely due to a delay in integrating OMNY with reduced fare benefits, as most full-price rides are now paid through taps. A significant portion of transit riders in New York also are not paying the fare at all.
While the MTA previously intended to phase out the MetroCard by the end of 2023, transit officials now say it will remain an option at least through the end of 2024, and possibly longer.
As for subway bathrooms, which started reopening this year after being closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the largest amounts of relief were registered at 14th Street-Union Square and 74th Street-Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue.
At the street level, the bus line with the most passengers was the M15, including the M15 Select Bus, which served 16.4 million riders through November. The route runs along the east side of Manhattan, from the southern tip at the Battery to 126th Street in East Harlem, on a route without much corresponding subway service. The bus line that traveled the greatest distance was the B6, which logged 1.7 million miles on its route between Bensonhurst and East New York in Brooklyn.
The distinction of busiest bus stop goes to Archer Avenue and Parsons Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens, which sees 36,000 riders each weekday. The stop is right outside both the Jamaica Center subway terminal and the Jamaica LIRR hub, and connects riders to numerous bus routes heading to the eastern stretches of Queens where the subway doesn’t go. The area is also a hub of commuter van activity.
More people rode the subway on Sept. 20 than any other day in 2023, with 4,179,861 people taking the train, the most since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. The September total was still only about 72% of pre-pandemic paid ridership.