A stronger economy is being credited for increased ridership on Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) trains in 2013, the MTA announced on Monday.
Metro-North ridership reached an all-time high on the railroad's lines east of the Hudson River, carrying 81.8 million passengers last year to surpass the previous record of 81.5 million rides set in 2008.
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The Harlem Line was the fastest growing route with a 1.2 percent increase. The New Haven Line was up 0.5 percent, and the Hudson Line grew 0.3 percent in 2013.
LIRR ridership also increased, with a 2 percent jump in passenger rides from 2012 to 2013. The railroad carried 83.4 million riders, up by more than 1.6 million from the year before.
“We are seeing an increase in both commuters going to work and occasional riders,” said LIRR President Helena E. Williams in a statement.
The railroad restored some service in 2013 that had been cut during the recession.
"We are pleased that riders are responding by using the LIRR more often to get to work as well as for leisure and other travel during the off peak periods," Williams said. "We believe the increase in ridership also reflects an improving Long Island and New York City economy.”
Most LIRR lines experienced an increase in rides, but the Long Beach line, which is still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, saw a 0.8 percent decrease in rides.
LIRR's ridership in 2013 is the seventh best year in post-war period, according to the MTA.