Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the South Shore Line will be implementing a temporary modified weekday train schedule to be in effect MONDAY, MARCH 23, 2020, until further notice. Please review the attached full schedule of revised weekday train times, which is essentially a modified weekend/holiday schedule with the addition of two morning and two afternoon rush hour trains. Our weekend train schedules will not be changed at this time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a substantial reduction in the daily ridership on the SSL. Given the significant drop in ridership, the SSL believes that temporarily reducing train service is an effective way to balance service with the reduced demand occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic. By reducing the number of cars in operation, we also improve our opportunities to do a deeper clean on out-of-service equipment. Please see ourprevious communication here.
Further, there is always the risk of exposure to our on-board crews. Fewer trains in service means that we will have extra crews available to operate trains in the event that a larger number of employees are unavailable for service. Further, we ask that our passengers purchase tickets in advance through the South Shore mobile app, SSL ticket vending machines, or SSL ticket agent. Reducing or eliminating cash transactions with our train crews will help reduce our employees’ exposures relating to cash fare collections.
Taking into account the urgent public guidance to cancel events and close schools and offices, the modified schedule will operate with trains consisting of as many cars as possible, and all cars open to facilitate social distancing.
“The unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 virus is impacting all elements of our society. Each of us needs to do our part to minimize the spread of this disease. The SSL provides a vital and essential service that our riders, many of whom are transit-dependent, rely upon,” said Michael Noland, South Shore Line President.
“We will continue to follow guidance provided by the CDC and other State of Indiana healthcare professionals, as well as directives given from our elected officials. Though normal ridership would not dictate full train consists, we will run the largest number of cars we have available on all trains to encourage social distancing. Finally, we are taking additional steps to disinfect our cars and are bringing in external support to supplement the tremendous job our cleaning crews are currently doing. Together, we can further reduce the potential spread of this disease. We know that we can get through this difficult time, and the SSL is committed to doing its part,” he said.
Although SSL ridership has been impacted by COVID-19-required closures, our trains provide an essential public service. This service is relied upon by healthcare professionals for travel to their essential assignments, and by citizens with previously scheduled medical appointments. The SSL intends to operate unless our public health officials or the government ask us to cease operations.