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MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) has set new goals for on-time performance and fleet reliability this year, President Patrick Nowakowski announced yesterday.LIRR has for the first time established specific on-time performance (OTP) goals for each of its 11 branches, a strategy that seeks to improve service on each branch while recognizing that operationally no two branches are the same, LIRR officials said in a press release.The railroad also intends to improve the mean distance between failures (MDBF), an important measure of fleet reliability that tracks how long a railcar or locomotive travels before a breakdown causing a delay. The measure has improved significantly in recent years to a point where the railroad beats its goals "by wide margins," officials said."Setting realistic performance goals that are branch specific gives us a good shot at boosting OTP system wide," Nowakowski said. "As for fleet reliability, the consistency in which we have been beating our own goals means it's time to reach further, to raise our expectations for MBDF if we are going achieve further improvements in that category.”Nowakowski, who has been LIRR president since June 2014, unveiled the changes at a time when the railroad's ridership has increased to its highest level in years. In 2014, LIRR transported 85.9 million riders, up 3 percent over 2013's ridership. "Our region has clawed its way back economically, which means that more Long Islanders are relying on us to get them to work and back home safely," said Nowakowski. "These two new initiatives represent achievable goals and will help us meet customer expectations by improving service across the board."