New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) recently released figures showing that the Long Island Rail Road's (LIRR) ridership increased sharply in 2015, as it remained the busiest regional U.S. railroad.
In 2015, the LIRR transported 87.6 million customers throughout the region, 2.1 percent higher than 2014. This is the highest total the railroad has seen since 1949. This total also surpasses LIRR's modern record of 87.4 million riders in 2008.
Experts estimate that LIRR ridership will continue to rise due to new investments in MTA's 2015-19 Capital Program, which the State of New York is funding. Plans call for an expansion of the LIRR’s Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville, enabling significant reverse commuting to Long Island for the first time, as well as construction of new LIRR stations in Elmhurst and Sunnyside in Queens.
“We’re pleased by the growth, but we’re more pleased to be able to provide the best service we can provide and to be a valuable, useful service to more people,” LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski said. “Looking toward the future, we’re pleased that we’re poised to increase our value to the region further, and grow ridership accordingly, through increased reverse-peak service that would result years down the road from the Main Line Expansion program that Governor Cuomo announced this month.”