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MTA ridership rises in 2012 despite Sandy damage

LIRR usage had risen for 13 consecutive months until October when Sandy ravaged the region, forcing temporary service reductions.
TimesLedger Newspapers

Even though Hurricane Sandy inflicted catastrophic damage to the New York City transit system, the number of riders using subways, railroads and buses increased by more than one half percent last year, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority reported Monday.

The ridership in the subways was the highest in 62 years.

“MTA ridership has been growing for 20 years and this positive trend reflects New York state’s improving economy and continuing improvements to the MTA’s services,” said MTA Interim Chairman Fernando Ferrer.

He pointed out that the MTA’s capital investments of close to $78 billion since 1982 have paid off in new trains with clear automated announcements and visual displays showing their current location and in new buses. Ferrer also said crime has fallen and many stations now have digital alerts as to when the next train is scheduled to arrive.

“As the MTA has rescued the system from the days of graffiti and breakdowns riders have continued to come back,” he said.

The biggest increase in MTA ridership was on the New York City subways, where trips were up 13.7 million over the 2011 pace for an increase of 0.8 percent. The subway’s annual ridership of 1,654 billion trips was the highest in 62 years.

The MTA said the Long Island Rail Road also rose in numbers of riders last year, boosted by a steadily improving economy and the new service to Barclays Center in Brooklyn. LIRR usage had risen for 13 consecutive months until October when Sandy ravaged the region, forcing temporary service reductions.

The MTA estimated that it lost 49.7 million trips because of Hurricane Sandy, including 43.8 million in NYC Transit, 2.4 million on the LIRR, 1.8 million on Metro-North Railroad, 1.6 million on MTA Bus Co. and 100,000 on the Staten Island Railway.

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