The parking lot of the South Shore train station in East Chicago

Commuters returning to South Shore Train Line

Contributed By:The 411 News

East Chicago station parking lot shows signs of more riders

The South Shore Train station parking lot in East Chicago on Monday was looking more like a 21st century transportation center than a useless, expensive possession that the COVID-19 pandemic had turned it into for much of 2020-21.

When the pandemic hit the nation in March 2020, riders stopped using trains, planes, and buses fearing exposure to the virus. The East Chicago parking lot emptied.

The most recent South Shore ridership report shows the number of passengers in April 2020 dropped to 15,174 compared to 277,549 in April 2019

Ridership for April 2021 was 63,138. April 2021 ridership was down 77.3% when compared to April of 2019.

South Shore President Michael Noland told the railroad’s Board of Trustees at a recent meeting that 2021 ridership is going up month by month. It’s a trend across the nation, Noland said.

Average weekday travel on the South Shore line was up three and a half times the 2020 ridership but down 79.1% from 2019. Average weekday passenger was 2,337 in 2021, 627 in 2020, and 11,182 in 2019. The average peak travel was down 84.0% in 2021 compared to 2019 while offpeak was down 64.7% compared to 2019.

Average weekend ridership was six times higher than what was reported in 2020. An average of 1,465 passengers was carried per weekend day in April 2021. Ridership was down 62.8% in comparison to 2019 ridership.

Story Posted:08/17/2021

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