2007_05_crowdtrain.jpgWith subway ridership at a new high in decades and many more riders on the way if the city's forecasts are true, the MTA has been thinking of ways to increase subway capacity. And Howard Roberts, president of the NYC Transit Authority which operates the subways and buses, says that one solution could be to extend subway platform and add two more train cars to the existing ten.

Roberts told NY1's Bobby Cuza that trying to extend platforms might be cheaper than building more tunnels: "What we have to do is cost those things, and then compare that to what it's going to cost to drill through solid rock" - it costs $2 billion per mile to build a new tunnel! One more thing the NYCTA should look at - how long will it take to extend the platforms. That sort of sounds like more weekend and late night service shutdowns and diversions.

Another idea mentioned by Roberts is increasing the speed of the trains. The Post reports that "a 10- 20-mph increase is not out of the question." And while the NYCTA is looking at dealing with overcrowding on the L line by running more trains, the subway's signaling system (which the Post calls "outmoded") prohibits trains from running close together.

Photograph of a crowded train by H2dez59 on Flickr