MTA Metro-North Railroad launched “Way Ahead,” a roadmap for the railroad’s future that details actions to enhance safety, service, infrastructure, communications, and transform customers’ day-to-day commuting experience. Way Ahead is a proactive response to Metro-North’s growing ridership, changing demographics, and the evolving needs of customers.
Way Ahead lays the foundation for the continued growth and vitality of the railroad. Since Metro-North was formed in 1983, ridership has boomed from just over 41 million customers a year, primarily to and from “nine-to-five” jobs in New York City, to an all-time high of 86.5 million customers in 2017. In addition to higher ridership numbers, with reverse commuting and customers taking trips at all hours of the day and night, the system is being used much differently than it was back in the early days of Metro-North.
At the same time as Metro-North’s customer expectations are evolving and ridership patterns are changing, the ability of its aging infrastructure to adapt to those changes is increasingly strained. Some of the rail in Grand Central Terminal is more than 100 years old. The Park Avenue Viaduct — which carries 98% of Metro-North’s customers — was constructed in 1893. Way Ahead tackles ways to renew infrastructure so that Metro-North can meet our customers’ desire for better service.
Since 2013, Metro-North has significantly upgraded its infrastructure, reinvigorated its cyclical track maintenance program, and bought new technology to help identify track defects. The agency invested heavily in its Safety Department and developed programs like confidential close call reporting and sleep apnea screening to foster a strong safety culture among our employees. Way Ahead builds upon this momentum with new safety initiatives.
Through Way Ahead, Metro-North will enhance the day-to-day experience of commuting for customers, including making improvements to how the railroad communicates with its customers in every way possible — social media, on the train, on platforms, and through other avenues, like the new Mymta app. The railroad will more rigorously maintain its stations and platforms, making them cleaner, more inviting, and generally more pleasant to be on, improving the daily commute.
Way Ahead is our roadmap to continue to provide the best possible service to our customers,” said Catherine Rinaldi, Metro-North president. “Its vision is clear, to set the standard for safety, reliability, and innovation in the delivery of excellent customer service. Guided by our past experiences, we look forward to developing an even stronger Metro-North for the future.”