MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — As we prepare to emerge from the pandemic, is the five-day, 9 to 5 workweek a thing of the past?

More people working from home may be the “new normal,” and that is having an impact on commuter rail service. The “MARC” train, for example – Maryland Area Rail Commuter — serves suburban Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, even distant suburbs of West Virginia. It has been slow to return to pre-pandemic ridership levels.

Regional planners like Matt Mullenax — who monitors transit trends in the Hagerstown, Maryland and Martinsburg, West Virginia market — are keeping a close eye on this market metric.

“Public transit is just part of a larger conversation as we come out of the pandemic: what does it look like now? And that’s where we want to stay nimble and agile in our planning efforts,” said Mullenax.

In just the past month, MARC ridership has jumped 23 percent as more offices open up. MARC is offering discounted fares and more express service options to attract more riders.