MTA Posts Best January Metrics in Seven Years for NYC Subway, Eight Years for LIRR, and Best Month on Metro-North in Almost Six Years

MTA Leadership Announced Performance Improvements at Fulton Center
MTA Leadership Announced Performance Improvements at Fulton Center

On-time performance and other measures of service on the New York City Subway, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad continued to improve markedly in the month of January, reaching historically high levels. In tandem with improving performance, subway and railroad ridership increased in 2019, reaching 1.7 billion trips on the subway, or 1.1% above last year, 91.1 million trips for 2019 on the LIRR, the highest since 1949, and 86.6 million on Metro-North, an all-time record.

“We said we were going to improve and become more customer-focused, and we’re proving it month after month,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye. “These numbers affirm that our programs to improve performance at all agencies have taken root and are bringing real results to improve the commutes of everyone on our system. The credit for this goes to our dedicated workforce, who are putting in the time and effort that make gains like these possible.”

“Safety and performance are everything for the MTA, and these figures are a sign that we are continuing to build momentum,” said MTA Chief Operating Officer Mario Péloquin. “We know that there’s still a lot of work to do. We’re ready for it and motivated to become even better to keep this region moving and deliver for our 8 million daily customers. Our push to bring the system into a level of performance that customers are satisfied with is only in its early stages.”

New York City Transit

Weekday subway on-time performance was 83.3% in January – the highest of any January since 2013. Major incidents that cause disruptions are declining dramatically to the lowest monthly figure since record keeping began five years ago, and customer-based performance numbers are also pointing higher.

January data also shows a continued trend of faster trip times in the system. Rush hour train trips were faster this January than last on nearly every line in the system.

“Our operating statistics continue to show significant improvement, meaning customers’ trips are faster, more reliable, and less likely to be delayed,” said Sally Librera, MTA NYC Transit Senior Vice President for Subways. “We are encouraged by our progress, but know we have more to do. Each day, thousands of subways employees are working hard to deliver for our customers, and these vast improvements in service are because of their dedicated efforts.”

There were just 29 major weekday incidents causing delays in January, a 44% improvement from last year, and the fewest of any month since record keeping began in 2015. Weekday train delays in January were 30,318, a reduction of 28% from January 2019. January was the 17th consecutive month to meet the delay reduction target, which was increased to 34,000 per month as of January.

Train mechanical reliability also improved significantly.  The average number of miles subway cars travel before experiencing a mechanical failure in January was 26.4% higher than a year ago, and was the highest of any January in five years. This continues a trend of improvements, with 12-month average mean distance between failures up nearly 8% from a year ago.

Metro-North Railroad

Metro-North’s on-time performance rose to 97.4% in January, 1.5 percentage points better than the prior year. The improvement marks the 14th consecutive month of improved on-time performance for Metro-North and the railroad’s best performance in 69 months, since April 2014.

Ridership on Metro-North’s trains and the connecting ferries and buses operated by the railroad was 6,957,330 in January, or 0.3% above last January. Last year Metro-North carried 86.6 million passengers, an increase of 100,000 over the prior year and the highest ridership on the railroad since it was founded in 1983. Every year for the past ten years, Metro-North has broken or essentially tied its all-time ridership records.

The percentage of peak-period trains operating at their full length in January increased 2.4 percentage points over the prior year, to 99.2%. Trains’ mechanical reliability exceeded its goal, with trains traveling 278,297 miles between experiencing a mechanical failure, meaning trains are traveling more than 39,000 more miles before experiencing a service issue, a 16.3% improvement from 239,188 miles between failures a year prior.

The improved performance measures follow tremendous progress under the Metro-North Way Ahead plan, a roadmap that details actions to enhance safety, service, infrastructure, communications, and transform customers’ day-to-day commuting experience.

“Our January on-time performance results are the best in more than six years, and this strong performance is thanks to the hard work and dedication of the men and women of Metro-North,” said Catherine Rinaldi, President of Metro-North Railroad.  “We are working hard to deliver superior service to our customers, while not letting up on our commitment to perform the work necessary to keep the Metro-North system safe.” 

Long Island Rail Road

LIRR’s on-time performance of 93.3% for the month of January is 0.6 percentage points higher than a year earlier, and the best record for any January since 2012. The improvements build on the trend of improvement set in 2019 when annual on-time performance rose by 2 percentage points to 92.4%, its best performance in three years.

LIRR ridership for January was 7,171,719, or 0.1% above last January. Last year the LIRR carried 91.1 million passengers, an increase of 1.45% from 2018’s total of 89.8 million riders and the highest ridership on the railroad since 1949.

The percentage of peak-period trains operating at their full length in January increased 2.1 percentage points over the prior year, to 99.1%.

Trains traveled 197,551 miles between experiencing a mechanical failure, exceeding its goal for 2019. The number of cancelled trains fell to 42, from 65 last January.

“These numbers show the railroad’s efforts under LIRR Forward to aggressively improve our infrastructure. We are putting ourselves in a stronger position to provide a safe and more reliable trip for our riders,” Long Island Railroad President Phil Eng said. “This is about finding new ways to effectively solve longstanding problems. It’s also about hard work of our employees who rise to the challenge every day.”