Based on recently released ridership data collected by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in 2014, the Long Island Metro-North Railroads were the busiest commuter lines in the nation.
Non-work related travel saw the largest increase on both rail lines, including non-Manhattan commuters. According to the MTA, this could mirror similar trends in the New York City subway system as more jobs are being added in sectors not limited to regular working hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The Long Island Railway saw a 3 percent increase in ridership that amounted to approximately 85.86 million passengers. Metro-North saw 84.66 million commuters in 2014, a 1.5 percent increase.
“In another era, young people would buy a car with their first paycheck," MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said. "Now, with access to the nation’s most vibrant public transit system, more of them are buying train passes and MetroCards. Across our region, New Yorkers are developing a mindset that riding the railroad isn’t just about going to work anymore. It’s becoming more and more integrated into the fabric of daily life."
The MTA reports that traditional commutes to Manhattan make up less than half of the Metro-North commuting population. They also note that trips that do not involve a stop at Grand Central Station or Harlem and 125th have seen a 273 percent increase since 1984. Sports and other event commuting has also played a role in these trends.