Chesterton Tribune



NICTD eyes eastbound rush hour sked changes

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The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District has proposed a schedule change for three eastbound South Shore commuter trains departing Millennium station between 5 and 6 p.m.

The changes, as NICTD Marketing Director John Parson explained at NICTD’s Board of Directors meeting on Friday morning:

* The 5:10 p.m. departure would be moved to 5:24 p.m. This train, Parsons explained, is under-utilized by riders--averaging a capacity of 72 percent in April--and delaying its departure by 14 minutes would capture more of the 5 p.m. “quits.” More seats would be added to this train and it would run as an express to Hegewisch, arriving there 6 minutes sooner than currently.

* The 5:28 p.m. departure would be moved to 5:30 p.m.

* The 5:32 p.m. departure would be moved to 5:45 p.m., to capture more 5:30 p.m. quits.

One additional departure would be changed as well, Parsons added: the 8:45 p.m. departure would be moved to 9:10 p.m.

“We’re really trying to address and re-balance loads,” Parsons noted.

NICTD is seeking input from riders and will report back to the board at its May 12 meeting.

The target date for the changes: July 1.

On-Time Performance

In other business, Parsons reported that, through April, on-time performance has significantly improved over the first four months of 2016:

* 94.1 percent of weekday peak trains ran on time (87.2 percent in the year-ago period).

* 88.3 percent of weekday off-trains ran on time (79.2 percent).

* 85.8 percent of weekend trains ran on time (79.3 percent).

* And 89.7 percent of all trains ran on time (81.9 percent).


Ridership, on the other hand, is down somewhat year-over-year, Parsons also reported:

* Total passengers through April: down 2.6 percent.;

* Average weekday peak: down 3.0 percent.

* Average weekday off-peak: down 3.8 percent.

One positive, Parsons noted: average weekend ridership is up 7.5 percent. “That’s testament to some of the great weather we’ve had,” he said. “We’re hoping the softness improves over the summer.”

Ticket Sales

Meanwhile, South Shore riders continue to move away from purchasing their tickets from agents or conductors and in the direction of digital sales:

* Through March, Parsons said, ticket-agent sales were down 11.4 percent and conductor sales down 10.7 percent.

* Vending-machine sales were up 1.0 percent, in contrast, and mobile-app sales up 61.7 percent.


Posted 5/15/2017




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