MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A growing economy is credited for stronger ridership on the Long Island Rail Road last year.

As WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported, 2013 was a very good year for the LIRR.

“It’s the second year in a row that the railroad has increased its ridership,” spokesman Sal Arena said.

That follows a three-year decline on the LIRR, Arena said.

The railroad carried 83.4 million riders last year, a two percent increase over 2012.

“We’ll see this as a sign that the economy slowly but surely is working its way back. It’s a positive sign,” Arena told Xirinachs. “And we also see it as an indication that people want to ride the Long Island Rail Road.”

Arena said the success of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, summer Cannonball service to the Hamptons and an extension of service to the North Form also contributed to the railroad’s ridership increase.

Officials expect ridership will continue to grow in the coming years.

Metro-North also provided 83.4 million rides in 2013, the railroad announced. That marks a 0.7 percent increase over 2012.

Its east of the Hudson lines had the highest ridership ever, with 81.8 million rides last year. The previous record was set in 2008.

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