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MTA commuter railroads set pandemic-era ridership records

Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road last week achieved 61% to 62% of 2019 daily average ridership levels.
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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road set pandemic-era ridership records last week.

On May 10, Metro-North logged 158,798 riders, which was 61% of its 2019 daily average. The next day, LIRR recorded 178,100 riders, which was 62% of its 2019 daily average. The last time either railroad surpassed those ridership levels was on March 12, 2020, just before the pandemic was declared.

The ridership surge follows MTA's new fare pilot programs and train service increases made in an effort to lure riders back to mass transit, MTA officials said in a press release. In March, the commuter railroads rolled out a 10% discount on monthly passes and a new 20-trip ticket that saves 20% on regular peak one-way fares. In addition, City Ticket, which offers a reduced flat fare for rail travel in New York City on weekends, was extended to include all weekday off-peak trains at a fare of $5.

"Strong and dynamic transportation infrastructure is key to our recovery, and we are working hard to maintain our progress in returning to pre-pandemic levels," said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul in a press release.

Weekday trains have been steadily restored throughout the beginning of 2022, with LIRR offering more peak trains in both directions and Metro-North offering additional weekday trains on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/17/2022