Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Metro-North notches 2008 ridership records

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While casting a wary eye on potential customer declines for 2009, Metro-North Railroad has reported anew record of 84 million rides in 2008, its 25th year of operations.Ridership in 2008 was up 3.9% compared with 2007 figures, and includescustomers using the railroad’s connecting ferry and bus services, mostly inWestchester County, N.Y.

Metro-North’sEast-of-Hudson rail operations claimed on-time performance of 97.5%, the fourthyear on-time performance has logged 97.5% or greater. Metro-North'sWest-of-Hudson on-time performance was 96.9% on the Pascack Valley Line and94.7% of the Port Jervis Line.

“We arevery proud that Metro-North's performance continues to reflect the MTA's corecommitment to provide high quality customer service," said MTA ExecutiveDirector Elliot G. Sander.

"Theconsistent level of fine service that Metro-North employees provide is evenmore telling when you consider that the number of employees has remainedvirtually constant since Metro-North'sinception in 1983 while the number of trains operated has increased by 31%,”said Metro-North President Howard Permut. “In addition, the additional train servicehas been met with rail ridership that has almost doubled since 1983.”

But Permut acknowledged thatMetro-North ridership may slip in 2009 if economic conditions continue toslump, affecting Wall Street and the financial sector, and possibly forcing therailroad to cut service and raise fares.

"We were projecting much smaller growth even before some of the real economic calamities of November and December," Permut said. "We knew things were slowing down, but they weren't falling off the cliff like now."

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