restructured Board of Trustees of the Northern Indiana Commuter
Transportation District held its first meeting on Monday.
At that meeting the
five-member board elected Porter County Commissioner Jeff Good, R-Center,
its treasurer; Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, vice-chair; and St. Joseph
County Commissioner Andrew Kostielney secretary.
The board is
chaired by Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness.
All members were
appointed by Gov. Eric Holcomb.
The board was
restructured following passage of legislation which doubled the state’s
investment in the South Shore commuter line’s West Lake Corridor and
double-tracking projects by dedicating $185 million in additional funding.
That legislation also includes $20 million more in potential contingency
was intended to improve coordination among local, state, and federal
In other business,
the board heard that ridership through May has declined by 4.8 percent from
the year-ago period, with a raw decrease of 64,828 passengers.
That drop was
attributed partially to the fare increase but chiefly to the polar vortex
phenomenon early this winter, when bitterly cold weather forced the South
Shore to suspend service on four days: two in January and two in February.
Service was also
suspended for one additional day in February, after overhead
electric-service wire along Metra’s line in Illinois failed.
The most dramatic
decrease in ridership occurred on weekday trains, with a 4.5-percent falloff
on peak trains and a 6.1-percent drop on off-peak trains.
If the polar vortex
is discounted, on the other hand, ridership fell by only 1.6 percent through
May, with the largest decrease--3.7 percent--on weekday off-peak trains.
performance is also suffering somewhat this year, with 83.8 percent of
trains running on-time through May, compared to 87.1 percent in the
Weekday peak trains
ran 91.6 percent on time through May, compared to 93.3 percent in the
year-ago; with weekday off-peak trains running 81.3 percent on time,
compared to 87.4 percent in the year-ago.
Weekend trains, on
the other hand, ran 75.9 percent on time, an improvement over the 73.4
percent in the year-ago.