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Boston’s Transformation from Commuter Rail to Regional Rail has Recovered 96% of Pre-Pandemic Ridership – Route Fifty



More than any other major mode of public transit, commuter rail lost the most riders in the years since COVID-19 first struck the country. Nationwide, only about two-thirds of riders have returned to commuter rail, which uses traditional railroad infrastructure to move people between cities and their suburbs.


But not in Boston. By one count, the commuter rail system there has recovered 96% of its pre-pandemic ridership.


There are a lot of factors at play, but one that sets Boston apart is the extent to which it has reworked its service to better serve people traveling in the middle of the day, in the evening and on weekends. It’s part of a larger movement nationally that has picked up speed after the pandemic to make commuter rail cater to more riders than just those who come downtown every day for work. The goal is to transform the service from commuter rail to regional rail.



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