The Overhead Wire Daily | June 5th, 2024 | Boosting Ridership

June 5, 2024

Interesting news out of Boston as the commuter rail lines of the MBTA are now at close to full pre-pandemic ridership. One of the changes since before the pandemic is running more mid-day train service because all the trains aren’t tied up in peak hour rush. They are also adding later night and weekend service for people going out for entertainment or sporting events as well.

This is a promising sign that there are ways of providing transit service that get results which aren’t dependent on the masses of the rush hour commute. One of the interesting ideas Jarrett Walker shared when we chatted with him a few weeks ago was that there’s more mental space now for systems to be better designed around the 80-90% of society who aren’t the elite rush hour commuters that Jarrett says have in some respects vanished from the system.

This also points to solutions for other parts of our systems as well. There are some great examples of higher ridership on lines that don’t go into the center of cities that have been given frequency boosts like the 22-Filmore here in San Francisco. But also the express bus services that could only make one or two trips with a driver could be running extra frequency on a popular route providing access to more people.

The article notes that MBTA has an advantage over other systems in that they don’t have to wrangle more space for trains from the railroads, but it does show the power of more frequent service and advertising what the system can do for people when given a chance.


For this intro post and more news in your inbox every morning, sign up for a two week free trial of The Overhead Wire Daily, our popular newsletter established in 2006.

Listen to the Talking Headways Podcast


…the first thing I read every morning is the newsletter to see what’s been out there. It’s great to have an aggregator that pulls everything together so nicely.

Joe Cortright, City Observatory

I think that the email newsletter that you do every morning is the best one that I get, and I get a lot of them.

Mary Newsom, The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute

Really is the best daily urban newsletter out there.

Eric Jaffe, Editorial Director Sidewalk Labs


To Receive The Overhead Wire in Your Inbox Daily

Premium Daily Subscription

The Premium Daily Subscription is our most information packed offering, chock full of over 30 pieces of news every single day. Included are popular features such as the quote of the day and the most read article from the previous day. Also included is our weekly roundup for times when you are strapped for time but need to know what’s going on.

Premium Weekly Subscription

The Premium Weekly Subscription is for professionals constantly under a time crunch. We take the most read items from the week before and share them with subscribers along with more in depth analysis of a single popular topic.

Learn More and Subscribe

Video of the Day

Friends of The Overhead Wire

Back To Top

Welcome to The Overhead Wire

What Can We Help You Find?

Try Our Newsletter For Free