Chesterton Tribune



South Shore ridership down by 3 percent in 2016

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Ridership in all categories slipped last year on the South Shore commuter line, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District said at Friday morning’s Board of Trustees meeting Friday morning.

Total passengers fell by 113,186 passengers or 3.1 percent in 2016, from 3,505,080 in 2015 to 3,617,266.

Average peak readership slipped by 227 or 2.6 percent, from 8,730 in 2015 to 8,503.

Average weekday ridership dropped by 333 or 2.8 percent, from 12,056 in 2015 to 11,723.

Average off-peak ridership fell by 106 or 3.2 percent, from 3,326 in 2015 to 3,220.

And average weekend dropped by 234 or 4.8 percent, from 4,871 in 2015 to 4,637.

As NICTD marketing director John Parsons noted on Friday, the South Shore’s ridership decline appears to be the result of a number of factors: among them, continuing low gasoline prices as well as lower attendance at Chicago’s summer festivals. “We’re trying to get the word out about Chicago activities,” Parsons noted.

“Metra is struggling too,” he added. Through October, Metra saw a 4.8-percent year-over-year decline in its own ridership.

There was one particular bright note, Parsons said. On Nov. 4, the South Shore carried an all-time record 29,230 passengers for the Chicago Cubs parade.

On-time Performance

On-time also took a hit during the first half of the year--affected especially by the high-speed crossover project--but rebounded strongly in the second half of the year.

Through June 30, weekday peak on-time performance was 84.7 percent (91.6 percent in 2015). From July 1 through Dec. 31, however, weekday peak on-time performance rose to 93.9 percent.

Through June 30, weekday off-peak on-time performance was 73.9 percent (83.7 percent in 2015); from July 1 through Dec. 31, it rose to 80.8 percent.

Through June 30, weekend on-time performance was 75.7 percent (84.9 percent in 2015); from July 1 through Dec. 31, it rose to 83.0 percent.

Through June 30, total on-time performance was 77.8 percent (86.5 percent in 2015); from July 1 through Dec. 31, it rose to 85.4 percent.

A total of 13,042 trains ran last year; of those, 10,672 ran on time. Of the trains which ran late, 50 percent were late by only six to 10 minutes.

Ticket Sales

Corresponding to last year’s drop in ridership was a 2.9 percent drop in ticket sales.

Meanwhile, NICTD’s move to automate ticket purchases continued to gain traction, with purchases made from ticket agents dropping by 16.2 percent and those made from conductors aboard trains by 13.7 percent; at the same time, purchases made from NICTD’s mobile app rose by 61 percent and those from vending machines by 1.6 percent.



Posted 1/31/2017




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