Morning trains pass through Union Station in New Haven. Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Rail commuters in Connecticut will begin paying more for Metro-North tickets starting Nov. 1.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) will increase fares by 4.5% across the New Haven, Hartford, and Shore Line East commuter rail lines.

The increase will bring Connecticut ticket prices in line with New York, which raised rail prices earlier this year.

The increase in costs required to keep the trains moving is one of the reasons for the price hike, saidJosh Morgan, a DOT spokesperson.

“With labor costs, with maintenance costs, even with the price of electricity, everything has gone up,” Morgan said. “No one likes to pay more, 4.5% over 5 years we think is pretty reasonable.”

Another reason for the increased prices has been the rider response to COVID-19.

Metro-North has been experiencing lower ridership ever since more people began working from home during the pandemic.

Shore Line East only has 16 trains running each day, which is much lower than pre-pandemic service.

“We’re back up to around 70% of pre-pandemic ridership, but a lot of jobs aren’t five days a week in the office anymore,” Morgan said.

The DOT has responded to many of their riders’ work habits by rolling out new weekday and weekend schedules. Friday is now in its own category because many riders seem to work from home that day.

This increase marks the first time Metro-North prices have been raised since 2018 when a 1% increase was introduced.

This story was first published Oct. 23, 2023 by Connecticut Public.