LIRR 's Highest Ridership?

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LIRR 's Highest Ridership?

Postby Tommy Meehan » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:51 am

Per the railroads' websites, Metro-North’s total 2010 ridership was virtually the same as the Long Island Rail Road’s. MNR trains carried 81.1 million riders in 2010 (1.9 million rode ‘West of Hudson’ trains on ex-EL lines) while LIRR carried 81.5 million passengers.

Compare this to 1984, Metro-North’s first full year of operation (1983 was a strike year). About 47 million passengers were carried on MNR trains in 1984 versus over 75 million on the Long Island.

For years it was believed that Metro-North would “never catch up.”

The thing is, LIRR has actually done pretty well, as far as increasing and holding onto ridership. LIRR's 2008’s 87 million passengers-carried was just above the 86 million carried in 1923, which is reportedly the highest non-WWII ridership. I say "reportedly" because I found this information on a non-official website, the best I could find. A source like Moody's Transportation Manual has the official figures as reported by the railroad but I don't have access to one of the manuals at the moment. My library has them but they are in storage and getting to look at them is a tedious process.

I thought instead I would ask here. Does anyone know if the 86 million riders carried in 1923 is the highest total except for the war years? Based on figures I've seen from other railroads I would think the highest total might very well have been in the 1920s but maybe a bit later, 1926 or 1927.
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Re: LIRR 's Highest Ridership?

Postby wilsonpooch » Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:56 pm

the average daily ridership for the LIRR is now about 300,000 a day, for weekday commuters. Thats 300,000 thousand a DAY.
times that by 5 work days, and you get 1million 500thousand a week. Times that by 52 weeks a year and you get 78 million.
This is not counting weekend passsengers, and special events like the Mets, Rangers, knicks, tennis, Concerts, etc.
Factoring in the weekend passengers im sure the LIRR is over 86 million a year.
There was a dip in 2009, but according to most websites its back up again.
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Re: LIRR 's Highest Ridership?

Postby Tommy Meehan » Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:09 pm

In my previous message it was only the ridership in 1923 that was from a non-official website. The figures from 1984 onwards (including the MNR figures) are all from the MTA website. According to the MTA's website LIRR ridership was down 1.7% in 2010 from 2009. This is on page 61 of the report titled "The March 2011 Meeting of Metro-North and Long Island Commitees." It is noted, "Long Island Rail Road ridership trends have closely paralleled the regional economic slowdown."

I can't offer a link at the moment because of the difficulty I have navigating the MTA site with the ancient laptop I'm using to write this message.

There is also a year-by-year bar graph (1984-2010) of total ridership on page 61 of the report. Some figures include:

1984 - 75.2 riders
1985 - 75.9
1987 - 72.0
1990 - 75.3
1992 - 73.0
1995 - 76.6
1997 - 78.6
1998 - 80.3
2000 - 84.7
2001 - 85.6
2004 - 79.3
2007 - 86.1
2008 - 87.4
2009 - 83.0
2010 - 81.5
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Re: LIRR 's Highest Ridership?

Postby LongIslandTool » Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:45 pm

I believe the highest year for the Long Island Rail Road I seem to recall was 1926 or 1927.

Your 1923 figures probably include the five LIRR trolley operations which added about 6.5 million to the annual count. The largest of those operations were gone by 1928.

During the '20's, the Long Island also carried a huge number of passengers on it's rapid transit trains along Atlantic Avenue which may or may not be included in some of these counts.

You'd have to determine if the statistics you have include the owned trolley operations (often classified under Long Island Consolidated Electric) and the rapid transit operation.

Present day counts are not too accurate, but I don't know if the old time counts were any more accurate. I do know that the railroad's revenue accounting was MUCH more accurate.
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Re: LIRR 's Highest Ridership?

Postby eon2won1 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:20 pm

wilsonpooch wrote:the average daily ridership for the LIRR is now about 300,000 a day, for weekday commuters. Thats 300,000 thousand a DAY.
times that by 5 work days, and you get 1million 500thousand a week. Times that by 52 weeks a year and you get 78 million.
This is not counting weekend passsengers, and special events like the Mets, Rangers, knicks, tennis, Concerts, etc.
Factoring in the weekend passengers im sure the LIRR is over 86 million a year.
There was a dip in 2009, but according to most websites its back up again.



How do you know that special events are not averaged in the 300k number?
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Re: LIRR 's Highest Ridership?

Postby wilsonpooch » Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:36 pm

the 300,000 were regular commuters from what I read on various web sites.
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Re: LIRR 's Highest Ridership?

Postby timz » Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:54 pm

LongIslandTool wrote:Present day counts are not too accurate
How do they get the present counts, anyway? If somebody buys a monthly they count 60-62 trips for him that month? Or do they count two trips per weekday?
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Re: LIRR 's Highest Ridership?

Postby timz » Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:41 pm

Moody's says 115+ million in 1946, 100+ million in 1947.
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Re: LIRR 's Highest Ridership?

Postby LongIslandTool » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:47 pm

Wow -- never saw that before. But it was in 1947 that the LIRR claimed its operation ran 98.9% on time also.
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Re: LIRR 's Highest Ridership?

Postby Tommy Meehan » Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:26 am

timz wrote:Moody's says 115+ million in 1946, 100+ million in 1947.



Wowee thanks very much Tim. It did seem to me that I had seen 100 million plus quoted several times in TRAINS by columnist John Kneiling.

I am trying to establish the high-water mark for ridership outside the WWII years (before or after). Is that it? 115 million in 1946?
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Re: LIRR 's Highest Ridership?

Postby hrfcarl » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:41 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:
timz wrote:Moody's says 115+ million in 1946, 100+ million in 1947.



Wowee thanks very much Tim. It did seem to me that I had seen 100 million plus quoted several times in TRAINS by columnist John Kneiling.

I am trying to establish the high-water mark for ridership outside the WWII years (before or after). Is that it? 115 million in 1946?


Considering the time frame, might the buidling of the Levitt and other such communities have attributed to these numbers - construction workers commuting to these sites coupled with the new homeowners commuting to their jobs all on LIRR?
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Re: LIRR 's Highest Ridership?

Postby LongIslandTool » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:43 pm

A quick analysis of trends and ticket sales will dismiss that figure as quite inflated and inaccurate.
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Re: LIRR Ridership

Postby timz » Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:07 pm

According to Moody's 115.8 million in 1946 was more than any WWII year. 112.8 million in 1947, 109.5 in 1948 and then the descent steepened.
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Re: LIRR 's Highest Ridership?

Postby Tommy Meehan » Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:48 pm

Thanks again Tim. Just curious how the ridership over the past ten years or so (80-86 million) stacks up against ridership between 1950 and 1965 (when NYS acquired the railroad).

Btw, ridership figures are what they are. Back in the private days both the NYS Public Service Commission and the ICC had oversight. Since railroad ridership was a key element in establishing authority to raise fares, the carriers were usually accused of understating ridership, not the reverse! :)

And Moody's was a manual for investors, primarily for institutions purchasing or contemplating buying and selling bonds. Serious errors in providing data were probably SEC violations. I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss the figures.

And as for the historical record, we have nothing else to go by anyway.
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Re: LIRR's Ridership

Postby timz » Fri Apr 22, 2011 3:46 pm

1962 Moody's says 69.1 million in 1961-- that's the newest I have at home. You'd think the enormous increase in population would more than balance out the parkways and LIE, but apparently not.
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