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TEXRail Ridership Numbers Growing Post-Pandemic, But Still Flag Behind Original Projections

When the various restrictions were put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, TEXRail, the commuter rail line between Fort Worth and the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, saw a sharp decline in ridership numbers. 

While numbers are increasing, TEXRail is still experiencing flagging ridership when compared with pre-pandemic numbers. Ridership is also well behind the original estimates that were used to justify the rail system.

Originally proposed as a measure to reduce congestion and improve connectivity in the fast-growing DFW region, the Federal Transit Administration estimated that TEXRail would average 8,300 riders per day.

In April 2021, TEXRail saw 744 users per weekday and 1,102 on Saturdays. Tarrant County has approximately 2.1 million residents.

For Fiscal Year 2021, the number of riders of the Trinity Metro system at-large, of which TEXRail is a part, is 43 percent lower than Fiscal Year 2020.

For those wishing to ride TEXRail, masks are still being required through September 13. It is following the Transportation Security Administration’s guidance for public transportation.

Governor Greg Abbott lifted the statewide mask mandate in early March. “Removing statewide mandates does not end personal responsibility or the importance of caring for your family members,” said Abbott. “Personal vigilance to follow the safe standards is still needed to contain [COVID-19]. It’s just that now state mandates are no longer needed.”

On May 18, Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting government entities in the state from requiring “any person” to wear a face covering. 

TEXRail is continuing plans to expand its route into the hospital district of Fort Worth. The total cost for the two-mile TEXRail track extension is about $120 million, with $58.9 million coming from the Texas Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration. The other $61.1 million must come from local matching funds. 

Trinity Metro will receive around $39 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, Melissa Chrisman, vice president of marketing and communications told The Texan. “Those funds will be used to support general operating expenses across all modes of service.”

Revenue for Trinity Metro in this fiscal year remains over 35 percent lower than last year’s revenue. Additionally, fares paid by TEXRail passengers are only covering 1 percent of its operating costs, based on a report provided during the Trinity Metro board meeting on June 21.

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