Ridership inched up 0.8 percent to 83 million rides versus 2011, but not quite enough to top the total reached in 2008, when the railroad provided a record 83.6 million trips, Metro-North officials said in a prepared statement.
The railroad lost 1.8 million rides in 2012 as a result of damage caused by Sandy, which struck in late October.
"Our ridership has doubled in the 30 years since Metro-North's inception and was on track to be the highest ever in 2012 before Sandy struck," said Metro-North President Howard Permut. "Nevertheless, by providing consistent and reliable service and good value, we have been able to double ridership from about 40 million a year to more than 83 million now, and we expect that trend to continue."
Ridership on the New Haven Line set a new record in 2012 at 38.8 million rides, up 1.3 percent compared with 2011. Ridership rose 0.8 percent to 26.6 million rides on the Harlem Line and 0.3 percent to 15.9 million on the Hudson Line.
But west of the Hudson River, ridership dropped 4.1 percent. On the Port Jervis Line, ridership fell 6.8 percent, while the passenger count on the Pascack Valley Line decreased 1.1 percent.
The impact of Sandy continued to be felt by Metro-North three months after the storm occurred, railroad officials said. However, monthly ticket sales in January "seem normal for the first time since Sandy, so that's positive," said Metro-North Vice President of Planning Robert MacLagger.
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