By Austin Carter

POMPANO BEACH (CBSMiami) — Tri-Rail says they have one of the best pandemic recoveries in the nation according to recent data, and it could mean more incentives for commuters.

“The percentage ridership increase for that first quarter of this year, we were second in the country,” says Steven Abrams, Executive Director of Tri-Rail.

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The data coming from the most recent American Public Transportation Association’s ridership report when it comes to U.S. Commuter Railroads.

“We are one of the biggest comeback stories in the country, there is demand for commuter rail in South Florida,” says Abrams.

Abrams says much of the area’s economy revolves around construction and tourism, with jobs that people cannot do from home and jobs that did not stop due to the pandemic.

“Other commuter rails in the country are still way down in their ridership because they have these big empty corporate offices in their downtowns,” says Abrams.

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With less trains on the tracks during the pandemic, other work got done that riders will now notice.

Locomotives were taken out of service for refurbishment, and track improvements/maintenance continued leading to a payoff now for commuters – on time service.

The commuter rail line hopes their pandemic bounce-back with trains and service will lead to more federal funds.

Tri-Rail is also making moves on their Downtown Miami Link which would be a direct route through existing track.

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That service is expected to begin as soon as early next year.