Friday, July 31, 2009
New figures from Metro-North rail show the commuter line is experiencing a rare decline in ridership after years of rapid growth.
The light blue lines indicate 2008 monthly traffic while dark blue are 2009. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Metro-North graphic
The culprit is a combination of rising unemployment and cheaper gas, according to rail officials and economists.
Passengers on Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven Line took 14.5 million rides from January through May, 400,000 fewer than in the same period last year, the railroad said.
It was the first decline for that period in more than a decade.
In 2008, a record 38.2 million people rode the New Haven Line, a 3.9 percent increase from 2007.
This year, overall ridership on Metro-North’s New Haven, Harlem and Hudson lines has fallen 2.7 percent.
Metro-North officials blamed seven consecutive months of declining ridership on job losses for white-collar employees in finance, insurance and real estate.
Economists said cheaper gas was also a likely factor.
Posted 07/31/09 at 11:04 PM Permalink
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Rail officials and economist might also consider the exponentially increasing cost to riders.