MTA Releases First Ever Late Night Service Map

The NYC Subway system is arguably the best transit system in the world in terms of availability to its riders. However it can also be said that it is the most confusing especially in terms of when & where some lines run if at all. This is especially true during the late night aka overnight hours where multiple lines either do not run or make different stops from its normal route.

To solve the confusion that baffles riders (I have seen it hundreds of times over the years), the agency has released its first ever late night service map. Here are the details via press release:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today released the first-ever map showing the scheduled overnight service of the subway system, when three subway lines don’t run, three lines become shuttle trains, six express trains run as locals, and a night-only shuttle appears. The map has a gray background color to prevent confusion with the normal subway map.

The New York City Subway is the only large subway or metro system in the world to maintain service to all its stations around the clock. The overnight service shown in the night map runs generally from midnight to 6 a.m., although certain lines’ overnight service patterns depicted in the map may begin or end slightly earlier or later than these times.

The MTA has printed 25,000 copies of the map in tandem with its normal press run of a million copies of the standard subway and railroad map. The night map is available free of charge while supplies last at the New York Transit Museum, at Boerum Place & Schermerhorn Street in Downtown Brooklyn, and at the Transit Museum Annex in Grand Central Terminal. The night map, developed in-house by the MTA, is the same size as the standard map and similarly folds into a handy pocket-sized document. In addition to the folded version, 300 pristine, unfolded press sheets of the night map are available for purchase at the Transit Museum Annex for $20 each. It has also been posted to the MTA’s website as a PDF, and the PDF is attached to this press release.

The reverse side of the map shows a work commissioned for MTA Arts for Transit, “City of Glass,” a faceted glass piece by Romare Bearden installed in the Westchester Square station in the Bronx in 1993. For each subsequent night map in the series, a new artwork will adorn the reverse side. The theme for 2012 is “night.” In “City of Glass,” jewel-like colored glass reveals a train wending its way through the canyons of towers and tenements under a full luminous moon. It is a moving work of art in brilliant color, filled with the vibrancy, excitement, and energy of the city, and is Bearden’s only glass art installation.

“The standard subway map depicts morning to evening weekday service,” said MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota. “This companion night map will, for the first time, depict service for a particular portion of the day. This is the latest effort we’ve taken to improve the availability of information and detail we provide to our customers.”

The following details the major differences in service shown on the night map, as compared with the standard subway map:

• Three subway lines (the B, C and Z) and the 42nd Street Shuttle do not operate overnight and are not shown on the map.

• Five subway lines offer shorter service than usual:
o The 3 terminates at Times Square.
o The 5 runs as a shuttle in the Bronx between E. 180 St and Dyre Av
o The M runs as a shuttle between Myrtle Av, Brooklyn, and Metropolitan Av, Queens.
o The Q terminates at 57 St/7 Av in Midtown Manhattan.
o The R runs as a shuttle in Brooklyn between 36 St and 95 St.

•Six lines make additional stops they don’t make during the daytime:

o The 2 makes all local stops in Manhattan.
o The 4 makes all local stops in Manhattan and Brooklyn and is extended to New Lots Av, Brooklyn.
o The A makes all local stops in Manhattan and Brooklyn; it runs to Far Rockaway but not Lefferts Blvd or Rockaway Park, which are served by shuttle trains.
o The D runs local via Fourth Av in Brooklyn.
o The E runs local via Queens Blvd.
o The N runs local via the Financial District.

• There is no skip/stop service on the J, which terminates at Chambers St on weekend overnight periods

• Six subway lines (the 1, 6, 7, F, G, and L) and Franklin Avenue Shuttle run their normal routes as local trains. (There is no 6 or 7 express service.)

Customers using trains at night should use Trip Planner+ at and mobile, which also takes into account all planned work diversions.

For starters, click here to view the map.

This is long overdue in my opinion. Over the years, I have literally had to help hundreds of riders who were standing around waiting for trains that would either not show up for a few hours or a couple of days. Some of this could be solved by paying more attention to signs. However not all could be solved by that as a lot of the people I ended up helping were either new to the city or visiting.

The late night service map would sure have helped such riders who look at a map showing a line being available but not an accurate reflection of when that line was actually running. If diversions were in place, that was just another mess to deal with.

Will the map be the end all solution? No, as when diversions are in place, the map will only do so much. However it will give a more accurate view of what lines are most likely to be available. My initial question outside of why this was not done earlier, is why the agency is only making limited quantities available? This definitely deserves a high print run.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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