The Long Island Rail Road is expanding weekend service on the Port Washington Branch, in a move that will restore half-hourly trains cut during efforts to cut costs in 2010.
The service increase will take effect Nov. 11, and will address an unexpected consequence of the 2010 cut, wrote Metropolitan Transit Authority spokesman Salvatore Arena in an e-mail – a drop in ridership.
“At the time the service reductions were implemented, the LIRR said it would monitor ridership patterns and make adjustments as needed,” wrote Arena. “While it was assumed that riders would shift to the next scheduled train, an analysis found that the railroad was losing customers.”
2011 ridership dipped 3.5 percent, or by more than 450,000 passengers. The change was largely attributable to the loss of half-hour service, wrote Arena, and ridership picked up after the LIRR restored some weekday off-peak trains in May 2012.
The MTA held a public hearing on the service restoration last Tuesday, and riders could record video comments on the changes at the Port Washington and Great Neck stations last Wednesday.
The Port Washington Branch, which runs to Penn Station, counts Port Washington, Plandome, Manhasset and Great Neck among its North Shore stops.
The deadline for public comment on the service change was Aug. 31.