The extended effects of the pandemic resulted in an unprecedented decline in Metrolink ridership and drastic impacts on the local economy. In response to the lower demand, the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) initially reduced service by 30% and later optimized train schedules to better reflect new travel patterns. This included the temporary suspension of several lower ridership trains, while some trains that had been suspended in March were added back to better serve those transit riders still looking for the travel alternative.
The reinstatement of mask mandates in Los Angeles County on July 17, 2021 contributed to some rebound in ridership growth, although the rate of growth has been slowing. Total ridership in August 2021 reached 303,020 boardings, up 6% from July 2021. This reflects a 29% recovery of pre-pandemic ridership levels, which is anticipated to continue to increase as the vaccine becomes more widely available, students return to in-person classrooms, and workers return to the office.
At the November SBCTA Board of Directors meeting, staff highlighted a Metrolink developed option to restore service by 21%. The proposed service restoration includes the reinstatement of trains across all six lines. Service restoration can be summarized as follows:
Metrolink has been leading the efforts to a clean and safe rider experience. As roadways are already back to pre-pandemic levels, the rail and bus transit options become even more critical as the agency looks to distribute the demand for better movement of goods and people. Visit metrolinktrains.com to see train schedules that meet your needs.