Tri-Rail's ridership spikes 30% in year

With people returning to offices, weekday usage hit 12,000 in January
Tri-Rail service shut down in Miami
Posted at 3:52 PM, Feb 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-05 20:45:44-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Tri-Rail's ridership is returning to levels before the COVID-19 pandemic with a 30% increase in January from one year ago.

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, which runs Tri-Rail trains, says the commuter trains averaged more than 12,000 weekday riders and close to 3,000 more daily than January 2022. Weekend ridership averaged more than 6,000 this June, also a 30% increase from one year ago.

Ridership declined by as much as 80% at the height of the pandemic in 2020 when service was drastically reduced to 18 weekday and 12 weekend trains.

“Between passengers that are returning to their regular commute to avoid the traffic on I-95 and new passengers that have figured out the benefits of this great system, we are happy to see a continued growth in ridership,” SFRTA Executive Director David Dech said in a news release. “My belief is that Tri-Rail will continue this upward trend as passengers share their experience with their friends and families and convince them to give it a try.”

It reached 13,000 passengers several days this January, with 320,000 total in the month, the highest seen since February 2020.

Tri-Rail serves from Mangonia Park to Miami International Airport along a 72-mile route with 18 stations.

In 2019, the rail service had 4,495,039 passengers, around 12,315 each day including weekends and holidays, its highest calendar year ridership record since beginning operation in 1989. That was a 1.8% increase from 2018.

However, the recent fuel prices have caused Tri-Rail ridership to increase. Gasoline topped $5 a gallon in Palm Beach County in 2022.

In March 2022, they surpassed than 11,000 riders a day for the first time since March 2020.

Commuter service includes connections with the Miami International Airport, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and Palm Beach International Airport.

The Boca Raton station is popular among rides.

“We take pride in providing a dependable commuter rail service that the public can rely on to get them where they need to go,” Dech said. “And we will continue to look for ways to improve upon the service that we deliver.”

The SFRTA Governing Board has approved pursuing a scooter/bike sharing program. An update on Tri-Rail’s Ride Partner services is being prepared for this spring.

Tri-Rail single-use tickets are based on zones.

Single one-way tickets range from $2.50 for one zone to $8.75 for all six. Discounted passes are from $1.25 to $4.25. A monthly pass is $110 for all zones, with half price for a discounted one.

Weekend and holiday daily passes are $5 with children 5-12, seniors and persons with disabilities $2.50.