MBTA commuter rail service exists to transport residents to and from work in downtown Boston, so it should come as no surprise that, even when service is performing at a high level, ridership is directly tied to the region’s economy (“Better service but fewer riders,” Page A1, Oct. 22). Sophisticated analytics show a clear correlation between ridership and Massachusetts’ unemployment rate. Factors such as gas prices, regional job growth, schedules, and fares and parking fees also influence ridership.
The Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co. is proud of its performance, safety, and customer service record over the past decade. We have reliably served approximately 80,000 customers across Massachusetts and Rhode Island every single day. With 95 percent on-time performance during eight of the past 10 years, a high customer survey performance rating (88 percent), and the best safety record of any American commuter rail system, MBCR continues to meet the rigorous requirements that come with operating the nation’s fifth-largest commuter rail network.
By every measure, MBTA commuter rail is on the right track, and it will only get better through continued investment, including 75 new bi-level coaches, 40 new locomotive engines, and ongoing infrastructure improvements on the Fairmount, Fitchburg, and Worcester-Framingham lines. These investments will pay off in the form of more trains during peak hours, middays, and weekends, and new riders.