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After Strong Opening Weekend, CapeFlyer Service Has Slowed in June

The CapeFlyer train crossed the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge in Bourne en route to Hyannis last summer.
The CapeFlyer train crossed the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge in Bourne en route to Hyannis last summer.Debee Tlumacki for the Boston Globe

As it enters its fifth weekend of 2014 train service tonight, the CapeFlyer is looking to recoup some momentum it lost following its strong opening weekend.

So far this year, the service has hauled a total of 2,209 passengers from Boston to the Cape and vise versa. After four weekends last year, it had recorded 2,528 passengers.

“We’re not disappointed, but we’re a little surprised,” Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority administrator Thomas Cahir told Boston.com.

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Cahir said administrators expect June to be a tougher month than July and August, in part due to things like high school graduations, proms, and the ongoing school year keeping people at home on weekends. He said he has circled the Fourth of July weekend as one likely to jolt ridership through the rest of the summer.

CapeFlyer’s opening last year marked the first passenger train service to the Cape from Boston in more than 20 years.

“We have been advised by the team that ran the train in the ‘80s that June will always be the most challenging month,” Cahir said. “We know that the real ridership will start as the summer gets rolling.”

The numbers are somewhat unexpected, though, following a 28 percent year-over-year ridership increase on Memorial Day weekend, the opening weekend for the service, and the popularity of the service last year, when it drew a total of 16,500 riders.

But the service fell far short this year on Weekend Two—322 rides in 2014 compared to 671 in 2013—and Weekend Four—421 to 697. It had a slight bump in Weekend Three, up to 399 from 352 the year before.

Ridership has risen each of the past three weekends in 2014, which could also be taken as an optimistic sign for the service, even if two of the weeks compare pretty poorly to 2013. And the service will also reportedly start making stops in Wareham on June 27 after being delayed to start the season.

Cahir said he is not worried about the service’s profitability or revenue this year, though he did not have figures on hand. The service was profitable in 2013, he said.

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