By Patrick Hedlund
MANHATTAN -- The MTA is looking at increasing rush-hour and weekend service along the crowded L train following inquiries by a local politician into sluggish service on the 14th Street subway line.
State Sen. Daniel Squadron announced Monday that straphangers could see an increase in the frequency of trains starting in mid-2012, after he requested an analysis of the L and F lines this summer.
The MTA said Monday that it is working to replace the authority's old signal system with a new state-of-the-art system, and said the changes would "allow us to increase the line's capacity and efficiency" beginning next year, a spokesman said.
A report by the MTA pursued at Squadron's behest found that L train service has not kept pace with the line's "meteoric" increase in ridership, including a 141-percent rise in weekend riders since 1998, the senator said. However, the MTA's analysis showed that actual weekend service has only increased 58 percent on Saturdays and 52 percent on Sundays, Squadron added.
"As ridership and our communities change and grow, our transit system cannot be stuck on the nine-to-five clock," the senator added in a statement. "Improving weekend L service is a step toward a subway system that keeps up with its riders every day of the week."
Squadron added that the MTA decided that increasing weekend service on the F line, which has multiple stops in Squadron's Lower East Side district, would not be possible at the current time.