South Shore Ridership Plummetts to Ten Year Low

Technology, a changing workforce and changing demographics continue to hammer South Shore ridership numbers despite hundreds of millons of dollars in “investment.”

March 1, 2018-The most important measure of an idea is in the marketplace and the South Shore Commuter Railroad is continuing to fail in that marketplace. The final ridership numbers have been published by South Shore operator Northern indiana Commuter Transportation District and they are dismal.  Despite dramatically increased spending, ridership on the South Shore line fell to levels below 2005.  The decline in ridership is steady and continuous since a peak of 4.2M riders in 2008 when the Dan Ryan Expressway was under construction.  Total ridership in 2017 was 3.4M, down from 3.5M in 2016 and 3.6M in 2017.

Expense numbers for 2017 were not readily available, however, the 2015 chart below shows the expenses increasing by 36% over the ten year period 2006-2015.  These figures do not represent costs for positive train control nor do they represent the millions of dollars being spent by the failed Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) on behalf of the capital projects proposed.  Exact figures are not available, but it is estimated that Governor Holcomb’s RDA has spent as much as $15M on the South Shore line in the past 3 years.


  1. So what the h*** does the RDA think is gonna happen in the next 10 years that makes spending OUR money on the South Shore a good idea? Minor correction;the ridership should be 3.6M in 2015, not 2017 (according to the graph)

  2. More and more people are working remotely. Corporations love it, it reduces meaningless cost (rent, utilities, office furniture, etc).

    The problem here is someone is looking at making money on the backs of the tax payers.

  3. Since we don’t have MANY real jobs in NWI(a real job to me says 50K/year or above) there’s not a whole lot of reasons to stay here. Chicago has jobs BUT the hassles of getting to them from here is ridiculous!
    Sure, take the train from Michigan City/Gary/Hammond and get off at Millennium Park and either walk/cab/bus/rideshare to the job. So your commute is what two hours each way plus an 8-9 hour workday? That’s a long time!
    Then there is the possibility of here today-gone tomorrow jobs! Companies no longer value employees–just investors! You can’t plan a life that’s REALLY MEANINGFUL

    Just My Nickels’ Worth

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