NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Overall Metro North train ridership last year was the second highest in history, according to company officials.
The MTA Metro-North Railroad provided 82 million rides in 2011, up 1.4 percent over 2010, with ridership up on all lines and in all markets on nights, weekends, mid-days and holidays. The Hudson, Harlem and New Haven saw a combined 1.7 percent rise from 2010.
Growth was especially noticeable in December, when east of Hudson ridership increased 6.4 percent, the largest monthly ridership growth rate since September of 2000. That bump took place during the holidays, with records set for Thanksgiving weekend and weekends in December. Also, New Years Eve was the highest ridership since the mid-1990s.
On-time performance was a major reason that people choose Metro-North, according to Railroad President Howard Permut. Of the 209,020 trains operated last year, he said almost 97 percent of them arrived on time.
Reliability, as measured by on-time performance, is the result of all departments working together to maintain the trains, track, power and signal systems," Permut said. "And this includes coordinating construction projects and track outages with schedule planners and crew schedulers. It also requires a multitude of back office employees in areas such as training, purchasing, inventory control and environmental compliance to work together with a singular focus on providing excellent train service.
The continued rider growth comes in spite of a down economy and extreme weather that included record snowfall in January, a heat wave in July, Tropical Storm Irene in August, which completely shut down service for two days, and a snowstorm in October. Metro-North officials expect ridership to grow at a rate of about 2 percent this year.