For the 3rd consecutive year, the MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) has set a record for on-time performance. The agency just sent me a press release about it a short time ago with more information:
For the third year in a row, MTA Long Island Rail Road set a new On-Time Performance (OTP) record, achieving a best ever 95.21% in 2009.
The 95.21% overall OTP is the best since modern record keeping began in 1979 and included 81 rush hour periods when on time performance reached 100 percent. The LIRR achieved this milestone last year while operating 244,937 trains.
LIRR President Helena E. Williams attributed the improvement in the Railroad’s on time performance to investments in the LIRR’s fleet, better maintenance practices, a robust track work program, better vegetation management along the LIRR Right of Way and, most importantly, the effort of some 6,800 employees across the LIRR who keep customer service and safety as their top priorities all year long.
“We couldn’t achieve these new records each year without the dedication of our workforce,” Williams said. “They make it all happen, in all kinds of weather, day in and day out.”
In customer surveys, On Time Performance repeatedly has been identified as the No. 1 priority of LIRR customers. “Trends indicating improvement are always welcome,” said Maureen Michaels, chair of the Long Island Rail Road Commuters Council.
The previous OTP record of 95.14% was set in 2008. In 2007, OTP reached 94.07%. Last year also saw a record AM peak on-time performance of 95.72%, compared to 95.43% in 2008. The number of off-peak trains operating on-time in 2009 also set a new record of 95.40%, edging out the previous record of 95.32%, set in 2008. Helping to account for a record OTP year were seven months that set individual best ever on-time records. They were achieved in April, May, June, August, September, October and November.
The LIRR also tied a record last year that was set in 1993 for the highest number of 100 percent rush hour periods (81). The previous record was set when the LIRR was operating six percent fewer trains than in 2009.
LIRR On Time Performance in diesel territory, meanwhile, continued to lag behind overall performance with a 93.32% total. Diesel service OTP did improve in 2009 over the previous year, going to 93.32% in 2009 from 92.84% in 2008. The LIRR is continuing to work to address reliability issues that have hampered the performance of its diesel fleet since it was first acquired by the LIRR in 1998.
The LIRR last year celebrated its 175th Anniversary of service to Long Island and to the New York metropolitan region, providing in excess of 80 million customer trips as the busiest commuter railroad in the country.
Last year, the LIRR also provided extra service to the U.S. Open during the weeklong event that drew visitors and media from across the nation to Long Island’s Bethpage Black course. The LIRR provided transportation to nearly a third of all visitors to the U.S. Open, despite often challenging weather conditions. In addition, last year the LIRR continued its modernization efforts, completing a major signal and switch upgrade in the Valley Stream area.
Note: A train is considered on time if it reaches its final destination within 5 minutes and 59 seconds of its scheduled arrival time. The standard measure, used throughout the commuter rail industry, was adopted by the LIRR in 1979. That year the LIRR posted an OTP of 83.42% and began an upward climb of improved performance through the decades.
I have railed on the LIRR a lot & rightfully so at times. However I will not ignore positive accomplishments such as on-time performance. When push comes to shove, if you ask a commuter who does not follow this industry like I do, what is important to them, on-time performance will be near or at the top of their priority list.
While the chances of the agency continuing to improve on the numbers is low (can’t get much higher realistically), continuing in & around the range is a goal within reach. So for the sake of riders (including myself since I try to not always drive), lets hope that they keep it up.
xoxo Transit Blogger