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Following the completion of the Foothill Gold Line extension to Azusa, Metro staff reported a dip in ridership on Metrolink's San Bernardino Line, which runs along a parallel right-of-way a short distance south.  This prompted calls for studies of how to 1) reduce competition between the two rail lines and 2) improve the viability of Metrolink service.

Since then, the potential path forward has become more clear.  This month, Metro Directors Hilda Solis, Kathryn Barger, Ara Najarian and John Fasana introduced a motion which directs staff to "evaluate the benefits and/or impacts related to eliminating the Metrolink Claremont Station."  This includes an examination of current and projcted ridership growth, total parking spaces, impacts to Metrolink operations, potential cost savings for Gold Line construction and possible mitigation measure for the City of Claremont.

Construction of the second phase of the Foothill Extension had already called for relocating the existing Claremont stop, which would share a proposed parking structure with the Gold Line.  Choosing to eliminate the station could have a significant impact on the $1.4-billion project, according to a statement from the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority.

The Gold Line - which could eventually extend east into San Bernardino County - currently offers direct service into Pasadena and Downtown Los Angeles for a $1.75 fare, with trains running every 7-to-12 minutes for most of the day.  This has made it an attractive alternative to the nearby Metrolink line, which offers a faster ride to Downtown Los Angeles, but with lower frequency service and substantially higher ticket costs.

While Metro considers eliminating the Claremont station, other efforts are underway to bolster service along the Metrolink corridor.  San Bernardino County is currently studying the feasibility of running Diesel Multiple Units along the 60-mile right-of-way, and SCAG is exploring alternatives for extending rail or bus rapid transit to reach Ontario International Airport.

Image via Wikimedia Commons
Image via Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority

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