Unlike last year, when the CapeFLYER passenger train extended its season to Columbus Day, the train this year will stop running, as scheduled, on Labor Day.
The seasonal train runs between South Station in Boston and Hyannis, with stops including Buzzards Bay.
“Although we held our own during last year’s extension, the ridership did diminish quite a bit during the month of September,” said Thomas S. Cahir, administrator of the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority.
Mr. Cahir said he and other officials overseeing the CapeFLYER have made a judgment call that the ridership during that month does not justify the operational cost.
At present, Mr. Cahir said, the train is generating a small profit. He said he would rather protect that profit and put it into next year’s CapeFLYER operation rather than run the risk of losing money on the season.
The CapeFLYER’s future is looking “very solid,” Mr. Cahir said.
State officials, he said, are pleased with the train’s operation and financial performance.
“It’s full speed ahead,” Mr. Cahir said August 7.
The CapeFLYER is operated by the transit authority, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
So far, he said, the train has brought in $158,000 since its season began on Memorial Day weekend, and has been averaging $14,000 per weekend.
“Having been involved with rail issues all of my public life, I am still amazed that a rail/transit service can be so overwhelmingly successful and well received without an operating subsidy,” Mr. Cahir said.
Ridership this season has been somewhat difficult to pin down, given several changes since last year.
At this time last year, the CapeFLYER had carried 8,979 riders. So far this year, as far as officials can determine, the train has carried more than 8,000 riders.
“For example, due to a misunderstanding, the conductors were not counting the children under 12 as passengers because they now ride for free,” he said. “They were looking for paying customers.”
Mr. Cahir said ridership numbers will have to be reconciled as the CapeFLYER completes its season.
“We do not make excuses, but shaky weather over the Fourth of July and this past weekend certainly did not help encourage people to ride down for day trips,” he said.