G Train Ridership Boomed at Extensions Now Slated to Close

The G train speeds by the temporarily defunct Smith Street-9th Street Station. In 2009, five G stops were added to preexisting stations south of the Smith Street station, and while ridership has surged at three of those stations, the MTA is considering closing the G platforms. Flickr/Seth Thomas Rasmussen

Between 2008 and 2011, ridership grew enormously at three out of five Brooklyn stops where the G train was extended in 2009. But now the MTA is considering cutting G service at those stops, which lie between Park Slope and Kensington. Brooklynites have been vocal in their anger over the proposed cuts, to say the least.

MetroFocus used MTA data to map and compare changes in ridership on every stop on the G-line in order to give you a better picture of what the G train extension boom means.

Click the icons on the map to see how changes in ridership between 2008 and 2011 at each of the G Train stations:

MetroFocus included some landmarks on the map (see pink push pins) to help you get your bearings.

The  Smith-Ninth Street station used to be the southernmost stop on the G train — the only direct subway line connecting South Brooklyn to North Brooklyn and Long Island City. But since that station has been closed for renovations for the better part of the past five years, in 2009 the MTA decided to add  G stops to five pre-existing F-line stations south of Smith-Ninth Street, with the promise that the stops would remain operational through 2013.

But earlier this year, the MTA announced that it was considering shutting down the G stops — the F train has long served those stations, and will continue to do so — after 2013.

In March, Working Families Party created the “Save the G Train” campaign, and collected 2,000 petition signatures from Brooklynites in less than a day. Working Families Party argues that the MTA is making a huge mistake by focusing on transit projects in Manhattan, while ignoring a massive population boom that’s occurred in Brooklyn over the past 15 years.

As was first reported by the Brooklyn Paper, ridership increased 17.3 percent at the Seventh Avenue-9th Street Station, 15.7 percent at the Fourth Avenue-Ninth Street Station and 12.4 percent at the Church Avenue Station between 2008 and 2011. And while ridership dropped by 12.6 and 27 percent at the Fort Hamilton Parkway and Prospect Park West–15th Street stations, respectively, over the same period, both of the stations experienced extended closures in 2010 and 2011.

How big are these increases compared to other G Stations? They have experienced the highest increases in ridership on the entire G Line, except for the notoriously overcrowded Metropolitan stop in Williamsburg, where the G meets the L.

The MTA argues that the increase at three of the G stations is actually due to the extended closures at the other two, since riders who would have used the closed stations had to change their commuting habits.

It’s also important to remember that correlation isn’t necessarily causation in this situation, because all of the G extension stops share their stations with the F Line. And MTA data doesn’t track which train straphangers ultimately board, just the station where they swipe their MetroCards.

However, ridership decreased by 3.8 percent at the Ditmas Avenue F train Station — the station just south of the last G train stop, Church Avenue — between 2008 and 2011, suggesting that the G train extension increases were caused by straphangers bound for North Brooklyn and Queens via the G.

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