Jump to content
Attention: In order to reply to messages, create topics, have access to other features of the community you must sign up for an account.

Growing Numbers on L.I.R.R. Ride Against Commuter Tide


Recommended Posts


Published: May 10, 2007


As city residents continue to take more jobs in the suburbs, the number of reverse commuters during the morning rush on the Long Island Rail Road has jumped 76 percent since 1998, according to a study to be released today.


The railroad’s origin and destination study also shows a 72 percent increase in the number of passengers riding into the city during off-peak hours, as higher gasoline and parking prices have more travelers leaving their cars home and using mass transit.


While the percentage changes were large, these two categories of riders remain a small share of total ridership.


The findings of the study, which was undertaken last year for the first time since 1998, are consistent with changes in travel patterns on Metro-North and New Jersey Transit trains. Fewer than half the riders on Metro-North trains are commuters from the suburbs who ride to Grand Central Terminal in the morning and return home at night.


Reverse commuting to Long Island is not as pronounced because Nassau and Suffolk Counties have a series of smaller job centers compared with hubs like White Plains and Stamford, Conn., which have attracted many large corporations.


The Long Island Rail Road also has less flexibility to expand service for reverse commuters than Metro-North. It shares Pennsylvania Station with Amtrak and New Jersey Transit, while Metro-North is the sole railway at Grand Central.


The Long Island Rail Road has other constraints on the Island. Trains between Great Neck and Port Washington, for instance, travel on just one track, so the trains heading to the city during the morning rush far outnumber those traveling the other way.


Between Hicksville and Queens Village, both tracks run westbound trains between 6:30 and 8 a.m.


The railroad has proposed adding a third track between Floral Park and Hicksville to meet the growing demand for reverse commuting. But even if it were approved, it would take several years to complete.


“Metro-North has been very accommodating in handling reverse commuters because of the flexibility they have,” said Bruce Schaller, a transportation consultant who has studied regional traffic patterns. “The L.I.R.R. has been constrained because of the capacity at Penn Station. It’s difficult to service other needs when you’re trying to meet your peak rush hour volume.”


Still, the Long Island Rail Road has encouraged riders to travel during off-peak hours and against the rush by maintaining significant discounts for off-peak tickets.


That is one reason the railroad handled 12,917 reverse commuters each weekday morning last year, compared with 7,350 in 1998. It also carried 14,157 riders traveling westbound during midday hours, 72 percent more than in 1998. Many of those new riders were recreational travelers, the study found.


Both categories of riders grew much faster than overall daily ridership, which increased 7.8 percent, to 288,078, between 1998 and 2006.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.