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By David Madden

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Ridership on the PATCO High Speed Line is down a little from near record highs seen a year ago, but managers aren’t all that concerned for now.

There are some 120,000 fewer PATCO passengers now as compared to this time last year, but John Matheussen, executive director of the Delaware River Port Authority, says in 2012, they carried 10.6 million people — the most since 1999:

“This year the ridership is not quite as strong, but it’s still a very strong year for ridership. We’re gonna probably come in somewhere between 10.4 and 10.5 million.”

Some suggest recent problems repairing escalators and elevators along the line might be responsible for the drop off. Matheussen says that work, while delayed, is almost complete.

Every rail car is being refurbished, and rails on the Ben Franklin Bridge are being replaced. Those projects could cause delays.

Matheussen says he hopes riders will understand that both projects are necessary for PATCO’s long term health.

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