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North County Transit District (NCTD) posted record-high ridership in fiscal-year 2014, surpassing the previous record set in 2000.The record of 12.6 million customer trips reflected a culmination of system improvements, including the successful implementation of the agency's Mobility Plan, NCTD officials said in a press release. Initiated in 2011, the plan included the lowering of fares on some services and rescheduling of train and bus routes to better meet riders' needs.Also helping to boost ridership: online and mobile-phone ticketing options, free Wi-Fi on the Sprinter and Coaster services, and additional Coaster trips through the Amtrak Rail-2-Rail program, NCTD officials said.The agency also set record riderships for Sprinter rail service, which logged more than 2.5 million customer trips; and Coaster commuter-rail service, which registered more than 1.7 million customer trips.NCTD's preliminary financial and performance results for FY2014 indicated that while service levels increased, the systemwide operating cost per revenue mile was consistent with FY2013, and operating costs per passenger trip declined over the same period, agency officials said. FY2014 preliminary estimates also show the operating recovery ratio is ahead of budgeted projections, indicating that a lower public subsidy was needed to support NCTD's operations, they said.
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