Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cape Flyer Ridership Substantial

Crossing the Cape Cod Canal Rail Bridge
Propelled by good weather and the legendary long traffic jams at the only two roadway bridges into Cape Cod, the state-funded Cape Flyer ridership is somewhat exceeding expe-tations, as re-ported in a Boston Globe article.   In my initial post about this train, the Cape Cod Flyer represents the return of direct Boston to Hyannis service after 54 years.

As reported by the Globe:

Sunday’s 25-mile line of vehicles creeping across the Sagamore Bridge may go down as one the worst-ever Cape Cod traffic nightmares, but it also served as a free advertisement for a less stressful mode of transportation: the CapeFlyer weekend train service between Boston and Hyannis, which still has plenty of room for passengers.
Cape Flyer in Barnstable.  Photo by
Doug Scott
To anyone who has returned from the Cape on a Sunday night, this is not news, it's just what it takes to go to the Cape.  The savvy travelers will drive back early on Monday morning.  The more savvy travelers are shifting to the train.

As reported in the Globe, the cool, cloudy weather in June resulted in poor ridership.  But July brought the heat and, with the Cape beaches on their mind, the riders came.  Continued strong ridership may keep the service running into the fall, after the currently scheduled last trips on Labor Day weekend.

Accomodations:  While made up of commuter rail equipment, the train includes some features not found on all trains, including:

  • Onboard concessions* , not quite an Amtrak cafe car, but beer and wine are served after the last "commuter stop" at Middleborough
  • Free bike storage
  • Free wi-fi
  • Connections in Hyannis to ferries to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket
  • Bus connections at Buzzards Bay to Falmouth (by CCRTA)
  • Bus connections at Hyannis to Orleans  (by CCRTA)
*Concession provided by Iowa Pacific, the holding company for the other Cape Cod railroads, namely Massachusetts Coastal Railroad (freight) and Cape Cod Central Railroad (passenger excursions and dinner trains)

We'll see how ridership holds up through July and August.  But, as a alternative to a 25-mile backup, the train is a no-brainer.

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