LIRR ridership surges, outpacing pre-pandemic passenger levels

Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal is a major transfer point

June 15, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The MTA’s Long Island Rail Road on Saturday surpassed its pre-pandemic  levels for the first time, carrying approximately 117,900 riders — 105 percent of the pre-pandemic baseline.

At the same time, Metro-North, the MTA’s other commuter railroad, carried approximately 95,100 riders, about 99 percent of its pre-pandemic baseline.

The Long Island Rail Road has three stations in Brooklyn: the Atlantic Terminal station (also known as Flatbush Avenue), a major transfer point with the subway system; and the more lightly traveled Nostrand Avenue and East New York Stations. Most service out of Atlantic Terminal will change to shuttle service to Jamaica once the LIRR’s Grand Central Madison terminal in Manhattan opens later this year.

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The number of riders dropped during the week, but still showed gains over ridership during the heyday of the pandemic. The LIRR carried 191,197 riders, or 66 percent of pre-pandemic ridership, surpassing the previous pandemic-era record of 187,800 set on June 10. 

Metro-North carried 174,340 riders on Tuesday, 67 percent of pre-pandemic ridership, surpassing its previous record of 163,900 set on May 24. 

The high LIRR ridership on Saturday may be attributed to the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown of horse racing, which was held on that day. 

The LIRR’s Nostrand Avenue station, seen when it was being renovated in 2019. Wikipedia photo by EmperorofNYC

As for Metro-North, MTA attributes high weekend ridership partially to the opening of the Breakneck Ridge station, heavily used by hikers.

 “We’re thrilled to see our weekday riders continue to return in record numbers. This shows that while leisure travel has been very strong throughout the pandemic, the market for office commutation is regaining strength as well,” said Metro-North President and LIRR Interim President Catherine Rinaldi. “With fare discounts, City Ticket expansion, and great weather, the LIRR and Metro-North anticipate setting more records in the near future.” 

The MTA continues to encourage riders to return to the rails with fare discounts. On March 1, both LIRR and Metro-North rolled out fare offerings including a 10 percent discount for monthly passes, a new 20-trip ticket that saves 20% on regular peak one-way fares, and City Ticket, which offers a reduced, flat fare of $5.00 for rail travel within New York City on weekends, was extended to include all weekday off-peak trains.


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