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Officials: Hartford rail line ridership goals on pace

BY Joe Cooper

9/7/2018
PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
State officials said Friday that the CTrail Hartford Line fell just shy of its daily ridership goal during its first six weeks of service, though they expect it to exceed first-year targets.

A total of 69,067 passengers traveled on the rail line during its first six weeks bringing riders between New Haven and Springfield, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Department of Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker said. The totals do not include the line's first weekend when riders traveled for free.

The rail line recorded 19,767 passenger trips during its first month in June and another 49,300 passengers in July. About 1,860 riders travel the eight-stop line on weekdays, which is 85 passengers short of the state's first-year goal of 1,945 riders per day.

Still, officials said they expect the line to exceed its ridership goal before it hits the one-year mark of service. Those goals increase to 2,223 passengers a day in year two and 2,418 a day in year three.

Meantime, about $400 million has been invested in commercial and residential developments along the $769 million rail line between New Haven and Windsor Locks.

"We've already seen an explosion of interest in transit-oriented development in rail communities and we expect that will only grow as young people continue to make clear that they want transit at the heart of their hometowns," Redeker said in a statement.

Ridership has unexpectedly been rising throughout the summer, despite an anticipated drop due to vacations, officials said. August ridership figures will be available in October.

Under the expanded weekday service, trains are available at 45-minute intervals during morning and evening peak hours.

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