Metro-North New Haven, Connecticut Line On Track To 40 Million Riders

November 26, 2015

NEW HAVEN — Metro-North provided more than 3.4 million rides on its New Haven line in September, continuing a year-long increase that has it on course to break its annual ridership record.

Based on the first nine months of the year, New Haven line ridership is likely to top 40 million by New Year’s. By comparison, last year it reported a record of 39.6 million passenger trips.Website Insert Start Here copy

 “The increase in Metro-North ridership continues a long-term upward trend that we’ve observed since Metro-North was founded more than 30 years ago, when ridership was less than half what it is today,” railroad spokesman Aaron Donovan said.

In a report released earlier this month, Metro-North said its three major lines — the New Haven, Harlem and Hudson — had provided a combined 62.4 million rides by the end of September. That was up 1.3 percent from the first nine months of 2014.

Daily commuters still provide a huge part of the railroad’s business, but most of the growth is in off-peak travel. A pattern of rising demand for off-peak service led Gov. Dannel P. Malloy last year to revise Connecticut’s contract with Metro-North by adding extra evening, mid-day and weekend trains.

“The ridership increase underscores the important role that train service plays in our region, and the importance in investing in infrastructure,” Donovan said.

“The trend mirrors improving public satisfaction with the railroad as measured in our annual customer satisfaction survey, which found that overall satisfaction with Metro-North had increased 10 percentage points, to 83 percent, up from 73 percent the prior year.”

The railroad’s on-time performance rate has continued slowly climbing, according to its latest report to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, its parent organization.

Metro-North’s reliability had plunged after derailments in 2012 and 2013 forced new speed restrictions and other time-consuming safety initiatives. When President Joseph Giulietti was hired early in 2014 to straighten out the problems that developed under Howard Permut’s leadership, the railroad pledged to operate more safely — but conceded that on-time performance would slip.

Since then, the railroad has slowly been rebuilding its reliability. In the first nine months of 2015, 92.4 percent of New Haven line trains reached their final destination within six minutes of schedule. That was up from 90.1 percent in the first nine months of 2014.

Morning peak-hour trains into Grand Central have been the least reliable this year, arriving on time only 89.2 percent of the time. Evening peak-hour trains had the best record, with 95.4 percent arriving within six minutes of schedule.

Read the full story from reporter Don Stacom in the Hartford Courant by clicking here.


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