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The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) logged an increase in total trips on its Fairmount commuter-rail line during a two-week free service program in May. During the program's first week, the number of weekday trips rose 25 percent compared with ridership in the week before. That amounts to an additional 550 one-way trips per day, or about 14 passengers per train, MBTA officials said in a press release. The agency also reported a 44 percent ridership increase during program's second week compared with ridership the week before the program started. The ridership growth did not continue the week after the sponsored service expired, however. The program was aimed at promoting the line to prospective riders. The free service session ran May 8 through May 21.Massachusetts Rep. Mike Capuano, who sponsored the free service pilot, said he was "pleased but not surprised" about ridership trends during the program."Many dedicated neighborhood and community advocates committed substantial resources to making sure residents in the Fairmount Corridor were aware of the program," Capuano said. "My hope is that ... the MBTA is closer to realizing the Fairmount Line's full potential. I encourage the MBTA to continue the broad partnership this initiative fostered, and to continue to promote and improve the Fairmount Line."For an entire weekday before the program started, conductors gathered performed manual ridership counts. They also counted ridership twice during the program and once after it was finished.
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