Ridership across Commuter Rail above 80% of Pre-COVID levels in May 2023. On average more than 9 out of 10 trains arrived on-time for 7th consecutive month
By Alana Westwater | June 2nd 2023
BOSTON – June 2, 2023 – The MBTA and Keolis Commuter Services (Keolis), the agency’s operating partner for Commuter Rail, today announced that Fairmount Line ridership has reached a new all-time high, far surpassing ridership pre-COVID. The Fairmount Line continues to have excellent On-Time Performance at 97% for the month of May. On-time performance is an industry standard measured by the percentage of trains that arrive at their final destination within 5 minutes of their scheduled time.
“This excellent news is a prime example of passengers returning to a public transit option post-pandemic as a result of consistent, reliable service and performance,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Gina Fiandaca. “With regular all-day rail schedules, passengers in Hyde Park, Dorchester, and Roxbury are provided Commuter Rail service that they can depend on to get them to work, school, recreational activities, and more. I commend the MBTA and Keolis on this achievement and am confident they will continue with this great progress.”
“Through continued high levels of on-time performance, regional rail-style scheduling, and other improvements to the rider experience, Keolis and MBTA Commuter Rail were able to accomplish this exceptional and exciting achievement for the Fairmount Line,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng. “I thank Keolis and our Commuter Rail workforce for their continued commitment to best serving our rail ridership using the Fairmount Line and the communities we connect.”
“We are thrilled to reach this important milestone in partnership with the MBTA, the Fairmount Indigo Transit Coalition, and the many community leaders who have advocated for transit in the Fairmount corridor. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have listened to passengers and brought creativity and optimism to solving the challenges that we faced while continuously serving the essential workers and other riders who depend on public transit.” said Abdellah Chajai, CEO of Keolis Commuter Services. “As we look ahead, I’m excited not just about where we are compared to the past, but where we have the potential to go from here for riders and the communities we serve.”
The Fairmount Line runs through the heart of Boston starting in the Hyde Park neighborhood at Readville Station and continuing through Dorchester and Roxbury into South Station.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, ridership on the Commuter Rail dropped dramatically, at times barely reaching 10% of pre-COVID levels. In 2021, the MBTA and Keolis dramatically shifted the Commuter Rail operation, pivoting from a peak oriented service model to an all-day “clock face” schedule which offers service at regular intervals throughout the day. This new schedule also increased service levels on the weekend, incentivizing leisure travel on the Commuter Rail system. Weekend ridership on the Commuter Rail has regularly exceeded the pre-COVID levels since the summer of 2021.
For Fairmount Line riders, the introduction of the clock face schedule made service consistent all day, with trains every 45 minutes during the week and every 90 minutes on the weekend. Bikes are allowed on all Fairmount Line trains. All Fairmount Line stations are equipped with fare reader machines that convert Charlie Card fares into passes that can be visually validated by conductors.
System-wide, Commuter Rail continues to see ridership return and strong on-time performance. In May, Commuter Rail ridership reached a peak of just above 80% and on-time performance averaged 94%, continuing the trend of better than 90% performance since November 2022. Ridership data on the Commuter Rail is collected by the Conductors and calculated by line rather than individual station stops.
Passengers can stay connected with Commuter Rail by calling customer service at 617-222-3200, following @MBTA_CR on Twitter or signing up for T-Alerts at www.mbta.com/alerts.
Keolis Commuter Services operates and maintains the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s commuter rail system, the sixth largest commuter rail operation in North America. KCS is a subsidiary of Keolis North America (KNA), both headquartered in Boston, and employs approximately 2,500 people throughout the region. KCS and KNA are part of Keolis Group, an innovative global leader in transit services with more than a century of passenger transportation experience and operations in 13 countries.