Due to declining on-site ticket sales at its Riverside Station, Metra today announced that BNSF Railway will no longer staff the station with a ticket agent as of the close of business June 13.
Ticket sales have declined at many Metra stations as passengers have switched to online and mobile purchasing. Although the ticket office is closing, passengers will continue to have access to the station facility at Riverside, where more than 500 people currently board each weekday.
In April, customers at the Riverside Station purchased a total of 816 tickets for the entire month ̶ the lowest number of tickets sold at all 15 stations staffed by an agent on Metra’s BNSF Line to Aurora. The sales, which totaled slightly more than $26,000 in April, were also the lowest on the line.
“Technology is changing the way Metra customers are buying tickets,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno. “We continue to look for ways to be more efficient with our limited resources and eliminating ticket agents at locations where sales aren’t high enough to warrant staffing is simply a good business practice.”
After June 13, customers who use the Riverside Station will be able to purchase a paper ticket onboard from a conductor at no extra cost. In addition, customers have a variety of other options for buying tickets. Those include buying from an agent or vending machine at all five downtown stations and buying tickets online through Metra’s website here.
As of November 2015, Metra customers can also buy Metra mobile tickets on their smartphones with the new Ventra App. The free app is available for download at the App Store and Google Play. Quick acceptance of the app by Metra customers resulted in 1 million tickets being bought and used via the app within 60 days of its launch.
Ticket agent positions were also recently eliminated at the 95th and 99th Street stations on Metra’s Rock Island Line, Bensenville station on the Milwaukee West Line, Hubbard Woods on the Union Pacific North Line and Harvard on the Union Pacific Northwest Line.