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Operator bids for rail contract despite ridership fall

Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co. vies for new contract, cites outside forces in drop-off

Massachusetts’ commuter rail system, once plagued by delays and widespread consumer dissatisfaction, has succeeded in improving its service, but is wrestling with another persistent problem: a decline in ridership.

Bucking national trends, fewer people ride the commuter rail now than 10 years ago, when MBCR took over running the rail service, the state’s largest operating contract. That contract is up for renewal in June 2014, and the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co. is facing competition.

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