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Metro-North passes LIRR, carries more rail passengers

The Long Island Rail Road reported about 65,000 fewer passengers than Metro-North in September. Photo by Christina Santucci
By Philip Newman

Metro-North Railroad has, for the first time in the memory of most MTA officials, displaced the Long Island Rail Road as the rail system carrying the most passengers.

The LIRR, long the nation’s largest commuter line, said its passenger total dropped again slightly in October with fewer passengers than in October 2009.

The LIRR experienced a decline in passengers over the weekend of Oct. 23-24, when the railroad urged people to avoid the LIRR, which drastically cut service to permit major signal installation in Jamaica.

Most officials said the overall drop in LIRR ridership totals could be attributed, to a large extent, to the economic recession and a drop in the numbers of jobs for Long Island residents.

The decline in passengers was probably also due to halting service in some areas of Suffolk County as a hurricane approached as well as after a tornado struck parts of Queens and Brooklyn Sept. 16.

The Long Island Rail Road reported 6,834,092 passengers for the month of September compared with 6,899,663 taking Metro-North.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said in a public statement: “Economic recovery is occurring at different rates in different parts of our region and both railroads will continue to pursue ways to show that public transportation is still the best way to travel. As the economy picks up, we expect the LIRR ridership will rebound.”

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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