Long Island Rail Road officials say the nation's largest regional railroad recorded its best on-time performance ever in 2009 since LIRR began keeping track in 1979. LIRR’s overall on-time mark was 95.21%.
"It's the single most-important issue to our customers," LIRR President Helena E. Williams said.
Like many regional passenger railroads, LIRR considers its trains on time if one reaches its final destination within 5 minutes and 59 seconds of its scheduled arrival time. “I think it's pretty universal," Williams said, though passenger rail advocates nationwide continue to question the definition.
Sister MTA railroad Metro-North notched an on-time percentage of 97.84% in 2009, also a record high, according to spokeswoman Marjorie Anders. Metro-North also defines on-time using the buffer of 5 minutes, 59 seconds.
Better train maintenance, track upgrades, and aggressive removal of vegetation all helped to increase LIRR on-time arrivals, LIRR’s Williams said. LIRR's previous record for on-time performance was 95.14%, set in 2008.