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Metra to cut service in half starting Monday amid coronavirus crisis, falling ridership

Ridership has seen a “severe drop” in the fallout of the pandemic, which has included state-wide school closures and work-from-home mandates.

With many people working from home, this inbound Metra train car on the Union Pacific North line was nearly empty at 8:30 a.m. Monday, March 16, 2020.
With many people working from home, this inbound Metra train car on the Union Pacific North line was nearly empty at 8:30 a.m. Monday, March 16, 2020.
Fran Spielman/Sun-Times

Metra will cut its weekday service in half starting Monday in response to a drop in ridership during an outbreak of COVID-19.

Ridership has seen a “severe drop” in the fallout of the pandemic, which has included state-wide school closures and work-from-home mandates, Metra said in a statement Thursday.

The altered schedules, viewable online, apply to all Metra lines except the Heritage Corridor to Joliet.

Metra lines will continue their normal schedules through the weekend until Monday.

Metra said its would maintain enough cars on trains to allow for social distancing. The rail service also said it might cut service even further to match ridership demand.

“This is an unprecedented situation; we are attempting to do our best to provide service for those who still need public transportation and match service with demand,” Metra CEO Jim Derwinski said in the release.

The altered schedules will remain in effect until ridership increases, Metra said.

Last week, Metra said it would waive a $5 fee to refund monthly passes in light of the number of customers forced to work from home.

On Tuesday, Metra said it was considering reducing service amid decreasing ridership.