As part of the MTA’s $29 million in service enhancements, the Metro-North Railroad will be adding 230 new trains a week. Here are complete details via the official press release:
MTA Metro-North Railroad today announced plans to add 230 trains a week, 220 east of Hudson and 10 west of Hudson, in the largest service expansion since the railroad’s inception in 1983. Most of the new service will be on weekends and in the off-peak to meet non-commutation ridership that is growing at about 6% a year.
The railroad also plans to add rail cars to 27 trains each weekend for a more comfortable ride as the loading standards that were imposed in 2009 due to severe budget constraints are being relaxed.
“Metro-North is projecting record ridership of over 85 million rail rides in 2012, its highest ever,” said Metro-North President Howard Permut. “We are gratified to be able to add service where it’s most needed – on weekends and in the off-peak periods. By establishing 30-minute headways where we now offer only hourly service, we make the railroad an even more attractive choice and we expect ridership to grow even more as a result of these initiatives.”
With weekend ridership growing significantly faster than the traditional AM-peak inbound commutation market, Metro-North is poised to increase the number of east-of-Hudson trains it operates on Saturdays from 418 to 442 and on Sundays from 357 to 413. Historically, Sundays were not as busy as Saturdays, but this pattern is changing and Metro-North is moving to reduce the old difference in service levels.
Some Upper Hudson customers will save about 12 minutes on the trip to Grand Central on off-peak and weekend trips because of a new departure pattern. Weekend and off-peak trains will depart Poughkeepsie on the hour, 20 minutes later than currently, and most will run express from Croton-Harmon to Manhattan. To provide better travel options for Upper Hudson Line customers traveling to local stops between Croton-Harmon and New York, these trains will make a direct connection at Croton-Harmon to local trains, eliminating a 26-minute wait for a local.
The Hudson line is getting 11 new weekday trains, 12 new Saturday trains and six new Sunday trains, for a total of 73 new trains a week. The Hudson Line changes will be implemented in April 2013.
On the Harlem Line, Metro-North will add 12 new trains on Sundays between North White Plains and Grand Central in October, Trains that previously had been “Saturday-only” trains will now operate both days to accommodate the line’s highest ridership during the fall/winter holiday shopping season.
In April 2013, weekday Upper Harlem line service will be beefed up to provide 30-minute frequency from Southeast to Grand Central between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on inbound trains and at all off-peak times until midnight in the outbound/northbound direction. Also, another six trains will be added on Sundays, to accommodate higher ridership outbound from New York City in the spring and summer months.
In addition, three weekday Upper Harlem Line trains, one inbound off-peak and two outbound peak trains, will be split into six, zoned express trains, to accommodate ridership that is approaching capacity.
This initiative will add 17 new weekday Harlem Line trains, four new Saturday trains and four new Sunday trains. A total of 93 new trains a week will operate on the Harlem Line.
In October on the New Haven Line, Metro-North, in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, will add 20 trains on Sundays and 8 trains on Saturdays to increase the frequency to every 30 minutes from both New Haven and Stamford at most times of the day. As on the Harlem Line, these changes will accommodate higher ridership during the fall/winter holiday shopping season.
In April 2013, another eight trains will be added on Sundays between New York and Stamford, to accommodate traditionally higher ridership outbound from New York City in the spring and summer months.
On the Pascack Valley line west of the Hudson, Metro-North, in conjunction with its operator, NJTRANSIT, will add one AM peak and one PM peak train to/from Hoboken this fall.
These service investments will be presented to the MTA board during its regular monthly meetings next week. They are part of the mid-year update to the MTA financial plan, which relies on additional efficiencies, three years of net-zero wage increases and a previously scheduled fare and toll increase next year to generate an additional $450 million in annualized revenue.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I rode the Metro-North so it is hard for me to comment personally so I asked people I know who regularly do. From everyone I have spoken with, they are looking forward to the additional service.
From what I can tell, Metro-North riders will benefit from the service enhancements which is more than I can say for LIRR riders especially on one branch. However I will save that for the next entry.
xoxo Transit Blogger