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    Two Visions of America by Don Jans

    Commuters Ride for Free as Metrolink Celebrates Earth Day

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    Traffic-weary travelers in six Southern California counties were offered free rides on Metrolink all day today to celebrate Earth Day and higher than expected passenger counts were recorded on trains across the system.

    On Monday morning, preliminary conductor counts indicated Metrolink carried 21,696 passengers on 65 trains, a 25 percent increase in ridership from the 17,290 customers carried on an average weekday. Metrolink operates 173 trains each weekday.

    Metrolink planned for a 10 percent increase in ridership by augmenting customer support and adding passenger cars to some trains on the Orange County and San Bernardino lines, two of the most popular on the system.

    “Getting people out of their cars and switching to safe, efficient and dependable rail service is part of our mission at Metrolink,” said CEO Stephanie Wiggins. “Today’s offer of free rides introduced a lot of people to Metrolink and we think, now that they’ve tried us, many will become regular riders.”

    Metrolink staff members met early-morning commuters at 20 stations to thank them for leaving their cars at home. State Senator Ling-Ling Chang greeted riders at the Fullerton Station, while Simi Valley Mayor Keith Mashburn welcomed new and returning riders at the Simi Valley Station. Passengers were given Metrolink tote bags and plantable seed bookmarks.

    Persons who downloaded the free Metrolink smartphone app between April 8 and today received an e-ticket good for an additional future Metrolink roundtrip. Travelers can purchase tickets, see schedules and get Metrolink information through the app, which is available at the App Store or Google Play.

    For every 1,000 people who give up their cars, they reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 23,500 pounds, the equivalent of the environmental benefits of planting a 12-acre forest, according to data supplied by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  

    For decades, the Southern California region has suffered from traffic congestion and air pollution. The Los Angeles, Orange County and Inland Empire regions are consistently recognized as having the nation’s slowest commutes and worst air quality. 

    Every year, Metrolink service accounts for 8.7 million car trips not taken, a savings of 13.7 million gallons of gasoline and a reduction of at least 120,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

    Earth Day is an international recognition to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Earth Day is observed in 193 countries and has been celebrated since 1970.

    For more information about Metrolink, please visit




    Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service in its 26th year of operation. Metrolink is governed by The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Metrolink operates seven routes through a six-county, 538 route-mile network. Metrolink’s passengers travel approximately 441 million miles each year, making Metrolink the second busiest public transportation provider in Southern California. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the eighth largest based on annual ridership.

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