MoDOT Revives Discounts to Boost Ridership

In an effort to boost ridership aboard the Missouri River Runners, the Missouri Department of Transportation is offering free rides for children on select days and 25 percent fare discounts for midweek travel.

The Kids Ride Free offer is available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 26 and applies to children ages 2 to 12 who are accompanied by an adult.

The midweek fare sale applies to travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and will run through Oct. 31.

Both fare programs are only available online. Passengers must make reservations at least one day in advance.

“One of these is geared toward children, so it’s important to us that we are having children take a chance on the train so that they can build a love for it, hopefully, and decide to be passengers as they grow into adulthood,” said MoDOT Railroad Operations Manager Kristi Jamison.

Jamison said MoDOT offered the same discounts last year and had saw good ridership during the spring and the summer.

“It was very well used, so we were glad to be able to offer that again on the Missouri River Runner,” she said.

Jamison said ridership to and from Jefferson City has been flat. The twice-daily River Runner trains posted ridership of 172,000 in fiscal year 2016 but that fell to 171,000 in FY 2017. In the current fiscal year ridership is up by 2.5 percent and has held steady.

She said track work in 2017 probably depressed ridership because trains often operated late.

The state appropriation for the service in FY 2018 was $9.1 million, but, Gov. Eric Greitens withheld $500,000.

MoDOT is seeking $15.1 million in FY 2019. Jamison said MoDOT has seen cuts in funding from time to time.

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