What train times work for you? Metra wants to know
As Metra tries to rebound from COVID-19 ridership lows, leaders are turning to passengers to help craft new train schedules they hope will have broad appeal.
Commuters can fill out an online survey at metra.com/schedulesurvey now through Aug. 5 that allows them to describe their preferred trip times.
"We're soliciting input from riders as we look into the third and fourth quarters to do schedule adjustments and enhancements, as we continue to do hiring so that we can do an expansion of services on various lines," Executive Director Jim Derwinski said at a July 20 meeting.
As of July 19, ridership overall was at 46% of pre-pandemic levels, although it reached a high of 56% on the Union Pacific North Line, officials said.
Passengers who take the survey will be asked to identify their ideal departure and arrival times for specific stations and describe what days they typically take the train.
Another question asks "what is the most important schedule feature Metra could address to improve your experience" on any given trip.
Commuters will also be surveyed on weekend service and what could be improved.
Metra wants to "continue to elicit concerns and thoughts and ideas about what we should and could do with the schedules in the coming months and years," Derwinski said.
The agency slashed trains by about 50% in spring of 2020 amid the first COVID-19 surge and a stay-at-home order.
The railroad has gradually restored some service on its BSNF and Union Pacific Northwest trains.