Breaking Travel News

LIRR Improved Train Performance in 2011

The MTA Long Island Rail Road has improved its train performance in 2011, with 93.71 percent of its trains operating on time.  This represents nearly a full percentage point increase over 2010, when on-time performance (OTP) was 92.76 percent.

On achieving the rebound in the OTP, LIRR President Helena E. Williams said: “It is a tribute to the dedicated workforce at the LIRR, striving to improve service reliability for our customers, particularly in light of the significant number of severe storms – snow, lightning and even tropical – our customers endured last year. We know our customers’ No. 1 priority is getting to their destination on time.  Our goal is to do even better this year.”

Williams attributes the 2011 OTP improvements to better fleet maintenance, an aggressive track maintenance program and the diligence of train crews helping to ensure customer safety while boarding and exiting – particularly during the Christmas holiday season where the LIRR saw significant ridership increases.

In 2011, the LIRR achieved record levels of fleet reliability – as measured in Mean Distance Between Failures (MDBF) – by logging an all-time record 169,724 miles, on average, for the fleet between breakdowns and surpassing the LIRR’s goal of 150,000 miles.  In the prior year, MDBF averaged 149,651.  The newer M7 electric train cars, which comprise the majority of the LIRR’s car fleet, rode in at a record average 431,125 miles in 2011; and in the month of April, the M7s tallied almost a million miles between breakdowns (an MDBF of 951,053 miles).  Even the LIRR’s older M3 electric cars reached record MDBF levels in the month of November, at 109,510.  All this translates into greater service reliability.

While improving OTP in 2011, the LIRR achieved the highest performance ever, since modern recordkeeping began in 1979, for the months of March and December, with on-time performance levels for those individual months at 95.62 percent and 95.97 percent, respectively.  In 2011, the LIRR also reached the second highest OTP for the month of November with 94.90 percent of the trains running on time.


During the year, the LIRR operated 52 rush hours at 100 percent OTP – 35 of those occurred in the AM Peak; and 17 in the PM Peak periods.

The LIRR operated 230,043 trains in 2011.

A train is considered on time if it reaches its final destination within 5 minutes and 59 seconds of its scheduled arrival time. The standard measure, used throughout the commuter rail industry, was adopted by the LIRR in 1979. That year the LIRR posted an OTP of 83.42 percent and began an upward climb of improved performance through the decades.

While OTP was on the rise in 2011, the LIRR’s overall ridership in 2011 dipped slightly lower than 2010 by 0.5 percent – going from 81.4 million riders in 2010 (adjusted for workday differences with 2011) to 81.0 million in 2011.  In a developing positive trend, the LIRR saw four consecutive months of ridership increases at the end of 2011.  Ridership during September through December increased by 2.2 percent over the same period last year – going from 27.2 million riders in 2010 to 27.8 in 2011, carrying about 600,000 more passengers.