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With ridership steadily increasing from pandemic lows, Chicago's Metra plans to add service to all of its lines starting next month.
The plans also include enhanced pilot schedules on four lines with more off-peak options to meet post-pandemic needs, Metra officials said in a press release.
From a pandemic low of 3% of normal ridership in April 2020 and a plateau of around 10% of normal passenger counts for much of 2020, ridership has been steadily rising since January 2021. This week, ridership reached 17% pre-pandemic levels, Metra officials said.
New pilot schedules will start July 12 on the UP North, BNSF and Metra Electric lines, and July 19 on the Rock Island Line.
In response to riders’ needs and global best practices, the pilot schedules are a change from pre-pandemic schedules that prioritized peak rush-hour service in favor of an approach that spreads out the service to offer more off-peak options.