Sunday, September 15, 2019

In the News: Going to the CDC for help on EEE; commuter rail $10 weekend fare popular

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"The prevalence of Eastern equine encephalitis in Massachusetts this year has prompted Gov. Charlie Baker to float the idea of broader prevention efforts next year and two MetroWest area members of Congress to ask the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for information about funding and other assistance.

The state Department of Public Health on Friday announced an eighth confirmed case of EEE, in a man in his 50s from northeastern Bristol County. One human case of another mosquito-borne illness, West Nile virus, and eight confirmed cases of EEE in animals have also been logged so far this year.

Public health officials have been advising residents to continue taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites - wearing bug spray, long sleeves and pants, and staying inside between dusk and dawn - even as the weather gets cooler in September.

On Thursday, U.S. Reps. Joseph Kennedy III and Katherine Clark wrote to CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield, noting that hundreds of mosquitoes across Massachusetts have tested positive for the virus and the number of confirmed human cases in the state “has already exceeded the national average of cases reported to the CDC annually.”

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"The commuter rail’s $10 unlimited weekend pass has quickly become a popular option for travelers with more than half a million sold since it was introduced in May 2018, though it remains unclear how much the ticket type has affected overall ridership, officials said.

Keolis, which is under contract to operate the MBTA commuter rail network for the next three years, announced Tuesday that customers purchased 584,000 weekend tickets over the past 16 months.

The company did not provide exact numbers linking the new option to financial growth, but said in its press release that commuter rail revenue has increased 25% over the last four years.

Keolis also said it would be difficult to quantify overall weekend ridership before and after the new pass was piloted and then made permanent, but that the $10 unlimited ticket contributed to some growth."

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