NYC subway ridership is down for second straight year

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NEW YORK — It may not feel like it during your morning or evening commute, but subway ridership is down for the second straight year.

According to data released at an MTA meeting this week, New Yorkers took 1.727 billion trips taken last year, compared to 1.756 billion taken in 2016, so roughly 30 million fewer trips.

"I'm not surprised. The subways have been pretty bad lately," said subway rider Leslie Spencer.

This is the second straight year the MTA saw a decline in the number of trips on the tracks. Last June the governor declared a state of emergency for the MTA, setting aside an additional $1 billion to help fix the subway system.

But riders like Leslie Spencer say they're yet to see an improvement in the service.

"The service is slow," Spencer said. "Everything's always down. There's construction everywhere."

But New Yorkers have to get to work. And considering the fact the MTA serves millions of riders every day, some say you just have to get used to the headaches.

"Compared to other places I've been it's a pretty good subway system," said subway rider Ross Taylor. "While there's construction and delays and stuff I just sort of chalk that up to how a public system works."

When it comes to the decline in ridership, both commuters and the MTA agree that it's not necessarily the service below ground, but a new service above ground that poses the biggest threat.

"Ride-sharing companies, we have a lot of them now," Qasim Zia said. "And a lot of the times I don't want to wait for the trains. And sometimes you do get specials from that, $5 ride anywhere in Brooklyn or $4 ride anywhere in Brooklyn, so I might as well do that instead of taking the subway."

Despite the drop, ridership is still near record highs. And riders say they don't mind a few more people using alternate methods of transportation, if it means they get a little more room on their commute while the MTA straightens out its service.

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