WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Metro-North Railroad had its second highest ridership ever in 2012 with 83 million rail rides “despite the lingering effects of Super Storm Sandy,” spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said in a press release.
"Our ridership has doubled in the 30 years since Metro-North’s inception and was on track to be the highest ever in 2012 before Sandy struck," Metro-North President Howard Permut said in the release. "Nevertheless, by providing consistent and reliable service and good value, we have been able to double ridership from about 40 million a year to more than 83 million now, and we expect that trend to continue."
A record 83.6 million trips occurred in 2008, but 2012’s numbers were up 0.8 percent from 2011. “Metro-North estimates it lost 1.8 million rides in 2012 due to Super Storm Sandy, the most severe weather impact on ridership ever,” the release said. “Had Sandy not occurred the railroad was on track for a new record of 84.9 million rides.”
Robert MacLagger, Metro-North’s vice president of planning, said that 11 percent of lower Manhattan office buildings remained unoccupied three months after Hurricane Sandy “any many of Metro-North’s commuters work in lower Manhattan.”
When it comes to individual rail lines, the New Haven Line had a record-breaking 38.8 million rides, a 1.3 percent increase from 2011’s 38.3 million. The “busiest suburban work destination” and “biggest outlying station” is Stamford, Conn., with an estimated 5,300 people getting off morning trains from both east and west.
Connecticut Transportation Commissioner James Redeker credited the “new and more comfortable rail cars and other equipment,” which he said seem “to be paying off.” "Customers count on the New Haven Line every day for clean, safe, convenient and reliable service," Redeker said, "and it's gratifying that commuters have validated our commitment to service through increased ridership. While ticket sales dipped in December, MacLagger said January ticket sales “seem normal for the first time since Sandy.”
"Life is returning to normal for a lot of these buildings in lower Manhattan," MacLagger said in the release. "The New York City economy has been rebounding, the quality of our service continues to be excellent, with an on-time performance of 97.6 percent systemwide last year. We added significant service in October and we are adding a lot more off-peak and weekend service in April, so these things help attract more riders."