For more than 110 years, residents of New York City have shared the experience of riding the subway. And although the recent trend has been one of increasing ridership, subway ridership has responded to the evolving cultural, economic and social landscape of the City. As new lines were built, subway ridership increased rapidly from 1905 to 1930. These statistics gradually declined during the Great Depression, before increasing again to reach its highest level ever in 1946. Ridership numbers dropped steeply from 1946 to 1958, coinciding with population and land use changes, as well as a rise in automobile usage after World War II.
Subway ridership has increased since the 1990s, when fare incentives and improved service resulted in strong growth. Annual subway ridership in 2013 was the highest since 1949.