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South Shore Line hopes high gas prices, end of mask mandate will bring back passengers

South Shore CVA

The South Shore Line hopes record-high gas prices and the end of mask mandates will bring riders back to the rails. Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District President Mike Noland told the NICTD Board Monday that he's cautiously optimistic, after the federal mask mandate for public transportation was repealed.

"With the Chicago market opening up and destinations being available and employers returning to work, it's all connected with the mask mandate," Noland said.

So far, off-peak ridership has been coming back stronger. But after last month's increase in gas prices, railroad officials are hopeful that rush hour trains will soon see more passengers, too. The South Shore Line has been promoting the potential cost savings of taking the train in its recent marketing efforts. At this point, officials don't expect Chicago's more stringent curfews to have a significant impact, but it's something they're keeping an eye on.