A two-year reverse-commute pilot project funded by a public-private partnership between Metra and Lake County businesses and governments is already exceeding the ridership goal set for the first year, officials announced today, on the first anniversary of the service.
Metra added trains and adjusted the schedules of others on the Milwaukee District North Line to enhance reverse-commute service to Lake County starting last March 4. To consider the pilot a success, Metra and Lake County Partners, the economic development corporation that helped lead the groundbreaking public-private partnership which made the new MetraMore service possible, set a target of 600 new passenger trips a day on the MD-N and UP North (which also serves Lake County) by the end of the second year. The target for the first year was half that amount, or 300 new trips a day.
According to Metra’s most recent count, in the fourth quarter of 2019 there was an average increase of 550 trips a day. While there have been some fluctuations in ridership during the first months of the test, the overall trend is very positive, and all members of the public-private partnership are extremely encouraged and satisfied.
“The results so far are more than encouraging – they are phenomenal,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “We agreed to this pilot because we thought it could build our ridership, help local businesses to recruit top talent and have a positive impact on economic activity in Lake County, and we think that is exactly what is happening.”
AbbVie, Horizon Therapeutics, Trustmark Insurance, Tenneco, Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, Lake County government, the city of Lake Forest, Lake Forest Hospital and the village of Deerfield are participating in the agreement with Metra.
“Business thrives in Lake County because of the strong talent pipeline, and MetraMore makes it even easier for our corporate partners to attract and retain the best workforce in the region,” said Lake County Partners President and CEO Kevin Considine. “Based on the early ridership numbers, we’re certain that the new schedule is meeting local needs, in addition to reducing pollution and roadway congestion and improving employee productivity and satisfaction. We’re excited to see the momentum continue to build for this service.”