Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Metro-North Railroad turns 30

Metro-North Railroad turns 30 Patrick Cashin/MTA

New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Metro-North Railroad celebrated its 30th birthday on Jan. 1, 2013. The railroad says it has become the busiest and best passenger railroad in the country with a consistent on-time performance of better than 97 percent and a customer satisfaction rating of 93 percent.

Metro-North's next big goal is to provide more frequent service to all stations at all times.

"In July, we announced the largest service expansion in Metro-North's history with the addition of 230 trains a week. Most of the new trains will be on weekends and in the off-peak periods to meet non-commutation ridership that is growing about six percent a year," said Metro-North President Howard Permut. "With 30-minute headways, customers are no longer wedded to a timetable."

In 1983, system-wide on-time performance was hovering at 80.5 percent and annual ridership of 42 million and dropping. Today, Metro-North routinely operates at more than 97 percent on-time system-wide and has annual ridership of almost 84 million.

The state of Connecticut has also invested more than $3 billion in improvements on the New Haven Line.

And there is the revitalization of Grand Central Terminal, which is celebrating its centennial this year. It began in 1984 with a new copper roof and the terminal has seen continuous investment since then.

Permut is now focused on increasing frequency of service, so that the train is an even more attractive alternative to driving.

"In the off peak and weekends my goal is roughly 20 to 30 minute service depending on the station. If a place like Hartsdale or Scarsdale, White Plains, Croton Harmon or Tarrytown can support 20-minute service, then it should be 20 minutes. We want Metro-North to provide the value so that people choose to ride us," Permut said.

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