YONKERS - A panel has found that safety has not been Metro-North's top priority.

According to a blue ribbon panel looking into improving conditions on the MTA's system, being on time has been more important to the agency than safety.

The panel, which was created by the MTA, released its final recommendations Wednesday. It says the railroad's emphasis on on-time performance did not leave employees with enough time to perform necessary inspections and maintenance work on the tracks.

The panel is making its recommendations after more than a year of studying the MTA's network after a series of derailments last year.

The panel is encouraging Metro-North to automate its process for assessing track conditions and use that data to plan maintenance work.  It is also recommending to adjust train schedules to allow more time for maintenance crews.

The panel did say that Metro-North has already made significant improvements in those areas during the past year.