TRANSPORTATION: Mixed resuilts for people, freight carriers

Times Board of Economists - Update from John Parsons, assistant director Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District
2013-07-21T00:00:00Z 2013-12-18T16:23:22Z TRANSPORTATION: Mixed resuilts for people, freight carriersBy Keith Benman, (219) 933-3326

More commuters took the South Shore in both May and June as compared to a year ago, providing hope the commuter railroad may soon see a ridership turnaround.

The recession hit South Shore ridership hard and the railroad has yet to post a year-over-year gain during the recovery.

"Employment may be beginning to turn around here," said John Parsons, assistant director at the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District. "That has been a major issue for us the last several years. We are heavily dependent on the service sector in Chicago."

On June 28, the NHL Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory parade provide a welcome boost, with 22,000 people riding the South Shore that day compared to normal weekday ridership of about 12,000.

U.S. short line freight carriers have been enjoying a strong year, with carloads carried up 7.5 percent in April, according to Railway Age magazine. Total carloads on major freight railroads were down 0.4 percent while intermodal traffic was up 1.6 percent in April, according to Railway Age.

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