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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Network improvements, new schedule boost Tri-Rail ridership

For a commuter rail system, running on time can be tantamount to running ahead of schedule — at least on the growth-strategy front.

In August, Tri-Rail Commuter Rail Authority recorded an 87.5 percent station-to-station on-time performance mark — the 71-mile South Florida rail system’s highest ever. At 94.1 percent, Tri-Rail’s end-to-end performance also was above target.

One reason: 15 double-tracked miles in the Fort Lauderdale area allowed Tri-Rail officials to develop a clock-based train schedule, which the agency has followed consistently, says Joe Giulietti, Tri-Rail’s executive director. More double-tracking is on the way; the five-phase project is slated for 2004 completion.

And better-performing trains beget ridership increases. Tri-Rail ridership was up 14.8 percent in August, compared with the same period last year.

"We had to add a fifth car to the end of the trains for the first time in a long time," Giulietti says.

The uptick continues. On Sept. 15, Tri-Rail ridership reached 9,380 — a three-year high.

"We’ve done it without any special promotions or ‘free’ incentives," Giulietti says. "These are solid increases."

Tri-Rail carries more than 2 million passengers annually, offering access to Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Pat Foran

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/19/2000