Ridership on the Long Island Rail Road’s Montauk branch has grown significantly this year, according to Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the railroad.
He attributed the increase in large part to the LIRR’s decision to have the Cannonball depart from Manhattan, where most riders originate, instead of Hunters Point Avenue in Queens.
Between January 1, 2013, and July 31, 2013, the Montauk branch transported a total of 688,794 passengers, as opposed to 681,817 for the same period in 2012.
Total Cannonball ridership is up from 22,780 last year to 23,957 this year for the period spanning the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, when the seasonal train was launched, to July 31, Mr. Donovan said.
Hamptons Reserve ridership is up 2 percent for the same time period, and those reserved Cannonball seats have been sold out since the middle of July. “That’s the first time we’ve had a sellout of that nature,” said the spokesman.
“There’s been a sort of a long-term uptick” on the Montauk branch in general, Mr. Donovan added.
The most recent figures for daily ridership, from 2012, showed an average of 7,960 people traveling in both directions each day year-round.