Talk:List of United States commuter rail systems by ridership

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1Q 2008 update[edit]

I just updated this table to reflect 1Q 2008 APTA data. I have 2 questions for other users of this page:

1)Should the list include the Capitol Corridor, which now has annual ridership (but not daily ridership) listed on the APTA report? For what it's worth it would fit between the Coaster and the Altamont Commuter express based on its annual ridership but the numbers aren't strictly comparable because the CC operates 7 days per week.

2)Should the Nashville system be removed since it is no longer listed on the APTA report? —Preceding unsigned comment added by WinstonKap (talkcontribs) 19:39, 22 July 2008 (UTC)


I notice that the APTA lists the 'primary city served' for New Jersey Transit as being Newark, New Jersey, yet under this table we have listed the 'largest city served' as New York City, as that has the most daily passenger loads. Do we think this is perhaps a relevant difference? I say this only because we have shortened New York City to 'New York', which gave me the impression when I first visited the page that it was referring to the home state of the rail company. NcSchu(Talk) 20:22, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

I get that it's hard to pin down an exact date for opening each system, but there has to be a more accurate one for MBCR than 2003 when Amtrak stopped running it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:58, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Bay Area[edit]

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the BART system heavy rail and not CRT? FoUTASportscaster (talk) 22:42, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

You're exactly right. I'm gonna change it, if no one else will. 007bond (talk) 23:13, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

MBTA Commuter Rail Starting Date[edit]

Why is 2003 listed as the starting date for MBTA commuter rail service? I believe that's when the T ended its service contract with Amtrak and began directly operating the service itself, but that's not the year that commuter rail service began, nor is it when the service became part of the MBTA system. Commuter rail service has been operating continuously in the Boston area for many decades (save for a few disruptions during strikes), predating the MBTA's creation in 1964. I believe commuter rail was part of the MBTA scope of services from its inception, partly in response to the abrupt closing of the Old Colony commuter rail lines a few years earlier when the Southeast Expressway opened. The Boston & Maine Railroad was contracted to provide commuter rail service until the mid-1980's, followed by Amtrak until 2003. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:21, 16 December 2008 (UTC)


What exactly is the scope of the service listed under the Penn. Dept. of Transportation? Is this referring to the Keystone Service? If so, shouldn't New York be listed as the largest city, along the lines of the NJ Transit entry? --Jfruh (talk) 23:04, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm removing it, since it's certainly not the only Amtrak service that can be used by commuters. --NE2 16:57, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Westside Express Service[edit]

I've removed the reference to the Westside Express Service as this line, which opened in February 2009, is not included in the 4th quarter 2008 APTA reports used for the table. Also, I could not locate a citation for the average weekday ridership listed. (correction - Trimet web site does report 1,250 average weekday ridership for WES in February 2009)

The first two sentences read (using bolding to alter the emphasis):
The following is a list of all commuter rail systems in the United States, ranked by ridership. All figures come from the American Public Transit Association's Ridership Reports Statistics[1] for the fourth quarter of 2008, unless otherwise noted.
Since Westside Express Service is now operational, and there is a citable ridership figure for the system, it might be a good idea to replace the entry for WSE into this article. According to the separate Commuter rail in North America there are 22 operational commuter rail systems in the United States. Given the lead to this article it seems that there ought to also be 22 entries here, even if the ridership figure for one or more systems comes from a source other than APTA. (talk) 23:56, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Upon closer examination of the Commuter rail in North America it appears that the 22nd line in the US is the Northstar Commuter Rail which is not due to open for operation until Fall 2009. Hence I suspect this article should list 21 lines. Based on the cited reference the last two entries in the table should probably appear as: (talk) 00:53, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

WES Ridership figures for several months are available with daily totals of 1250 for February, 1140 for March, and 1170 for April. The arithmetic mean being 1186.67. Rejecting the initially high 1250 figure for February (possibly higher due to novelty of the system) implies an average daily ridership of 1155 for the months of March and April 2009.
Rank System Largest city served Ridership
(average weekday)
Date Route miles Opened Notes
20 Westside Express Service (TriMet) Portland 1250 2Q 2009 14.7 2009 [1]

[2] [3]

21 Music City Star Nashville 900 Q4 2008 32 2006
  1. ^ "February ridership report". TriMet. March 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  2. ^ "March ridership report". TriMet. April 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  3. ^ "April ridership report". TriMet. May 12, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-10.

Suggest using yearly ridership statistics, instead[edit]

A heads up. I've proposed switching this and related lists to using yearly ridership statistics instead of the quarterly statistics currently employed. Discussion is on the US rapid transit talk page. --Millbrooky (talk) 17:59, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

I agree. Especially in terms of commuter rail / regional rail, a more complete metric would take into account all of the weekend ridership that various carriers have or don't have. In other words, systems with weekend service should get "credited," for operating that service, so total annual ridership, or total quarterly or even monthly ridership would provide a more complete picture than average weekday ridership. (I follow the APTA commuter rail ridership updates very closely, to the point of inputting them into an excel spreadsheet and creating a 12-month moving average for total monthly ridership. This I guess would fall under "original research" so I'm not proposing that as a measure to be included on this table. But my point is the total monthly ranking is slightly different from the ranking that comes from looking at average weekday ridership.) Since this is a sortable table anyway, it would benefit from having total annual ridership in addition to average weekday ridership (which I am not proposing to remove). Users could sort as they please. If we do this, we should remove the "rank" column, since there would now be different rankings based on which metric is being used. I also think the default sort, when users come to this page, should be on annual ridership. If no one objects within a few days I'll make these changes. The Interloafer (talk) 15:53, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree also98.229.215.43 (talk) 13:44, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Does Weekday Ridership By Mile Column Make Sense?[edit]

Does the weekday ridership by mile column make sense to have? The value is calculated by dividing the average weekday ridership (from APTA's report) by the route miles (obtained from other sources). While it's a simple statistic to calculate - and in this context doesn't require sourcing - it doesn't really add anything of value to the entry. It's also not a statistic that would be used for evaluating service effectiveness (data on vehicle occupancy and/or average trip length would be better service effectiveness measures). (talk) 14:59, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

I strongly agree. It makes sense to use this statistic as a point of comparison for heavy and light rail systems, where trains run more or less continuously at short headways. But there are too many differences between the systems here, especially since they're of wildly differing ambitions. Comparing the ridership per mile of a system like, say, the LIRR, which maintains extremely short headways all day, and the Altamont Commuter Express, which only runs a few trains a day at peak hours, isn't particularly useful.
Because of this disparity, a more useful stat might be round-trips per day, if we can find it. --Jfruh (talk) 18:52, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
I also think that this column is worse than useless. If there are no objections over the next couple of days I'll remove the column. WinstonKap (talk) 18:55, 11 August 2009 (UTC)winstonKap

NJT and Philly[edit]

An anonymous editor just added Philly to the NJT column, which got my thinking: Do the stats offered include the Atlantic City Line? Might we want to break that out separately, since ~it's an operationally distinct line that doesn't connect with the others? --Jfruh (talk) That's an interesting idea but we would need a different source since APTA doesn't break down ridership by line.


The link to the APTA website with the data does not work. In any case, the latest available reports seem to be for the first, not second, quarter of 2011 ( While the rankings are unlikely to be different, the numbers in the first quarter report ( do differ from that in the article (Metra has 296,600 riders, not 306,600 per day).Avman89 (talk) 23:38, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Second quarter is available here. Link in article is broken. — Train2104 (talk • contribs • count) 00:25, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

South Shore Line and Coaster: Two lines?[edit]

The South Shore Line and Coaster are both listed in the table as having two lines. But as near as I can tell from the relevant articles both railroads consist of a single line. Is this a typo or am I missing something? --Jfruh (talk) 12:21, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

Fixed. Old errors from prior edits, probably. Can be easy to loose track of stuff like that when editing charts. oknazevad (talk) 19:45, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

VRE ridership note[edit]

There's a note on the ridership column that the VRE numbers are average daily rather than average weekday. However, VRE doesn't run on weekends, like a lot of commuter lines, so the distinction is probably irrelevant? --Jfruh (talk) 13:42, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

Interesting point. If so, I can't figure out why the figure isn't just available from APTA - but the number I put in the table for the Virginia system is just APTA's full Quarterly figure for that system divided by 90 (days). In any case, feel free to revise the note as you see fit... If I have some time, I was going to see if I could dig up a direct ridership reference for that system as well, but I haven't had the time yet...
One other point - this list seems to be missing some systems that APTA includes. The most glaring one is northern California's Capital Corridor. But APTA even has figures for Alaska Railway (which is probably best described as a seasonal line, so that would have to be 'Noted' if it's included). I personally think that if APTA tracks it, the system should be included in this list. That was something else I was thinking about adding to the table soon. --IJBall (talk) 04:01, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

LIRR Route Length[edit]

I must point out that the route length quoted for the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) in the list is actually incorrect - the cited "700 mile" stat listed is actually the track length of the LIRR, not its route length. (This is similar to the New Jersey Transit Rail reference, which first prominently lists a "directional route miles" figure that must correspond to "track length", and then on the next page quotes a figure for "track miles maintained" which must be the figure that actually corresponds to "route length"...) Elsewhere on Wiki, I've seen a 315-mile route length quoted for the LIRR, but with no reference to back it up. So, anyone know where I can find the actual route length for the LIRR, along with a good cite to use for this stat? TIA. --IJBall (talk) 17:49, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

While I any really help with the primary question, I just wanted to pint out that I believe you are misinterpreting the NJT fugues in the source. The "track miles maintained" figure is likely not the route miles, but the number of track miles they run on that are not maintained by others, such as Amtrak's Northeast Corridor or the brief part of the Conrail Lehigh Line used by Raritan Valley Line trains. (Also possibly the Port Jervis Line west if Suffern, which is under Metro-Notth control.) At least that's what I interpret the term as. oknazevad (talk) 00:50, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
Huh. Interesting. OK, but I've still got a problem there too, because I'm guessing NJ Transit Rail isn't really +1,000 route miles either (that would make it by far the biggest commuter rail in the system, at least double the size of the next largest system!...). Which means I still don't have the correct "route miles" figure for NJ Transit, either! [sigh...] --IJBall (talk) 00:58, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
By timetable, the official route length for the LIRR is 335.9 miles. Cluefinder42 (talk) 01:45, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
NJTransit operates over 398.2 miles of track, though that number is less exact. Cluefinder42 (talk) 01:53, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
Checked Metro-North too, they have 270.1 miles (East of Hudson). Cluefinder42 (talk) 02:05, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
Cool - thanks for that! Question, though - how did you come by those figures? For example, the reference currently cited for Metro-North quotes a figure of "384 route miles", and I'm leery of using a different figure there, unless another reference with this 270.1 mile figure can be produced... Thanks again! --IJBall (talk) 02:55, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
I pulled those numbers from the employee timetables. Metro-North's public timetables on their website and they list the mileage from Grand can check the math for yourself. If you include the West of Hudson Line, you can add another 60 or so miles to that figure for 329.6 miles. Whoever quoted that figure probably confused the West of Hudson lines and counted the territory south of Suffern Yard as Metro-North trackage when it's not. Cluefinder42 (talk) 21:51, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Capitol Corridor[edit]

Why is the Capitol Corridor listed as commuter rail? I don't think Amtrak routes should be listed here, even if a large number of passengers use them to commute. At 168 miles, it hardly qualifies as a commuter-only route. If the CC is included, why not the Hiawatha or the Keystone Service, which at 83 and 195 miles respectively, are of similar length and have similar frequencies (and the same with Empire Service trains from NYC to Albany)? I would propose deleting the Capitol Corridor entry.Avman89 (talk) 04:50, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

It's included for a very simple reason – Capitol Corridor is included in APTA's Quarterly ridership list of commuter rail systems. Basically, anything listed by APTA should probably be included here (the only possible exception is Alaska, because that one is a "seasonal" line...). Now, I'll skip the details about how the CC operates (e.g. it only runs the full 168 miles for one run per day), but I'd certainly oppose deleting it from here, as long as APTA's including it. --IJBall (talk) 05:15, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
It's a rather imprecise way to list things, especially since Amtrak's Hiawatha probably carries more regular commuters than Capitol Corridor, Keystone Service, or Downeaster.Avman89 (talk) 01:38, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
Regular Amtrak services don't belong here. Shoreline East is excepted because the tickets are cheap and say ConnDOT. Keystone and Downeaster are not commuter rail. Metaquanta (talk) 05:26, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

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Hartford line?[edit]

Just want to point out that I think the Hartford Line ( ) is missing from this page. Launched last year. Has it been forgotten, or is there not data for it yet? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:16, 1 February 2019 (UTC)

Strangely enough, the data for Shore Line East is from the last 2016 report, as there's no listing for it in the main source. Definitely seems like the APTA has dropped the ball in regards to the Connecticut DOT lines. Now, with no data, should we add the Hartford Line anyway? I say yes, as it's better to include the link than not. But I'll wait for others input.
Of course, I also wonder why this even needs to be a separate article instead of just a sortable column on a general list of US commuter rail systems. oknazevad (talk) 13:45, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
We had been moving to only updating this once a year when the Q4 APTA numbers come out, and right now the latest numbers up on the APTA site are from Q3; the numbers on the page now are all from Q4 2017, before the Hartford Line launched. We should add it in when the Q4 numbers are out (getting the ridership data from different sources if need be). --Jfruh (talk) 19:01, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
Sounds like a plan. --IJBall (contribstalk) 20:33, 1 February 2019 (UTC)


Hey all: I was poking around the Q3 APTA numbers and it looks like they have eBART, which Wikipedia has pegged as a light rail system, under commuter rail. I have a discussion on where to put the eBART numbers once the Q4 report comes out over on the talk page for the light rail ridership table if anyone wants to weigh in. --Jfruh (talk) 17:30, 11 February 2019 (UTC)