Local rail riders can expect to see more trains by the end of the month.
The MBTA commuter rail will offer weekend service on the Newburyport/Rockport, Framingham/Worcester, Fairmount, Providence and Middleborough lines starting on Jan. 23.
Additional trains will be added on weekdays to the Newburyport/Rockpor, Middleborough and Fairmount lines.
“These lines experienced more ridership gains over the last several months compared to other lines and serve transit-critical communities,” the T said in a press release stated.
No other commuter rail lines will have weekend services.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Fiscal and Management Control Board approved the change in December.
The new winter schedule — which will also increase weekday service — will be available at www.MBTA.com on Jan. 15 and print copies will be available at major stations starting the week of Jan. 18.
“These added trains help to fill in service gaps that existed in the previous schedule and help to offer more consistent train intervals, such as clock face service which makes riding simpler for passengers,” the Jan. 7 release read.
The release used the Fairmount Line as an example, noting that the new schedule will offer clock-face service every hour. From Readville, a train will depart on weekdays every hour at 30 minutes past the hour between 6:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m.
The slight changes come as the representatives from the MBTA identified that ridership has continued to remain low during the pandemic. Approximately 8% of regular weekday ridership was seen during the morning rush hour period in the fall of 2020 compared to the previous year.
That substantial decrease in ridership throughout the pandemic put the MBTA in a $580 million deficit in the fiscal year that begins next July.
In mid-December, the MBTA cut spending by shutting down almost two-dozen bus routes, cutting subway service and slashing weekend, peak and weekday service on the commuter rail.
The Newburyport/Rockport line kept weekend service when the MBTA had made its initial cuts, but the frequency of trains were reduced.
With this new winter schedule, more trains will make their way to Cape Ann.
The MBTA’s reduced service schedule currently in place will remain through Jan. 22.
Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or firstname.lastname@example.org.