The semester has started again, and so that means I'm back on the train soon. Looks like I'm far from alone.
The commuter railroad carried more than 4 million passengers in 2008, the first time it surpassed that mark in its 20-year history.The interesting thing about these numbers is that Tri-Rail ridership grew even though it's a really limited system. In my own case, I have to drive to one station and take a shuttle bus from the other--the attitude of a lot of people is that if you have to drive that much anyway, you might as well drive the whole way, and I certainly understand that. It does take me longer, door-to-door, to get to work via the train than it does to drive, and with gas prices lower, it's not so clearly a financial deal to take the train. The only way it's a clear winner is on my sanity, which is enough to get me up a little earlier to stand on a platform, earbudded and carrying my laptop to work. See you later.
With 4.3 million passengers, Tri-Rail's ridership jumped nearly 23 percent over 2007. As gas prices tumbled below $2 a gallon, the number of weekday riders has dipped slightly but still hovers between 15,000 and 16,000 riders per day.
Ridership has more than doubled since 2005, after Tri-Rail finished building a second track, increased the number of weekday and weekend trains and added rush-hour service every 20 minutes.
"These statistics show that the trend of double-digit growth that we have experienced over the past three years is continuing," said Joseph Giulietti, Tri-Rail's executive director.