Metro-North Sets Ridership Record

Metro-North train about to pass through Melrose station; Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

12 days ago the MTA released a press release about the Metro-North setting a ridership record in 2007. The record was set due to ridership exceeding 80 million customers for the first time in the railroad’s 25 year history. Here is the full press release courtesy of the MTA:

MTA Metro-North Railroad ridership exceeded 80 million customers in 2007 for the first time in the railroad’s 25-year history, based on preliminary analysis of December ticket sales.

In fact, ridership has almost doubled from 41.3 million in 1983, the year Metro-North was created from the faltering Conrail passenger service.

This phenomenal growth has been attained within a service territory virtually unchanged with the exception of one, six-mile Harlem Line extension to Wassaic in 2000.

“The employees of Metro-North work hard to provide safe, convenient and reliable service 365 days a year,” said Metro-North president Peter A. Cannito. “And people are voting with their feet. We are excited by our continued growth and will continue to strive to provide the best train service in America.”

Total rail ridership in 2007, excluding connecting services, was 80.1 million, a 4.3% increase from 2006. But when ridership on the three connecting services managed by Metro-North is factored in, ridership was 80.7 million.

Ridership on the Hudson RailLink bus and the two cross-Hudson ferries, Haverstraw-Ossining and Newburgh-Beacon, totaled 0.6 million. Such connecting services are included in national statistics reportable to the Federal Transit Administration.

In fact, connecting services are just one of many markets actively developed by the railroad, including off-peak, weekend, nights, intermediate trips between stations not including Grand Central and the reverse commute, which makes it possible for people living in Manhattan and the Bronx to take the train to work in new suburban destinations such as White Plains, Stamford and Greenwich.

In addition to more frequent service, one factor that has contributed to Metro-North’s growth has been reliability.

In 2007, the railroad achieved a systemwide on-time performance of 97.7%, only one-tenth of a percent off 2006’s record-setting pace (97.8%), but two-tenths of a percent above goal (97.5%). Reliability remained high while operating 2% more weekday trains, and 1% more weekend trains, or 729 trains.

During the AM peak, 96.3% of trains operated on time, while 98.2% of PM peak trains did. For the AM reverse peak, the on-time performance was 96.9%. Weekday off-peak trains operated on time 98% of the time, while weekend service achieved the best on-time performance of any category Metro-North tracks, 98.1%.

By line, overall on-time performance was as follows: Hudson, 98.4%, Harlem, 98.1% and New Haven, 97.7%.

To be honest I am not much of a Metro-North rider. However when I have ridden the trains or seen them pass by, I noticed that the crowds are usually at a higher number regardless of the time of day. So I can definitely believe they set a ridership record based on the small samples I have experienced in some way. I hope the Metro-North continues to improve in 2008 & beyond for all the riders who depend on it.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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