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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Caltrain, MBTA chalk up more riders


With gas prices reaching record levels, two transit agencies continue to post ridership gains.

Caltrain recently hit an average weekday ridership high of 36,993, based on an annual passenger count taken each February at the agency’s 31 stations. Ridership rose 9.3 percent compared with the count taken in February 2007.

Peak-period commuters account for more than 80 percent of Caltrain’s ridership, but the commuter-rail system also attracted more mid-day and night-time passengers, with ridership in those sectors rising 4.4 percent and 16.9 percent, respectively. Weekend ridership also increased to 11,121 on Saturdays and 8,481 on Sundays.

To help accommodate the additional passengers, Caltrain is purchasing eight new rail cars from Bombardier Transportation. The vehicles are expected to be in service by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority recorded a ridership spike in 2008’s first two months. In February, ridership totaled nearly 30 million, up more than 11 percent compared with February 2007. In January, ridership rose about 5 percent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/7/2008