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Metrolink's new Riverside to Perris service starts Monday

FILE: A Metrolink train at Los Angeles Union Station on May 19, 2015. The regional rail line is launching its Riverside to Perris service Monday.
FILE: A Metrolink train at Los Angeles Union Station on May 19, 2015. The regional rail line is launching its Riverside to Perris service Monday.
File photo by Sharon McNary/KPCC

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The regional rail service Metrolink already runs more than 350 miles through Southern California, and it's about to go 24 miles farther.

An extension of Metrolink's 91 Line from Riverside south to Perris is set to open Monday. The line connects to downtown Los Angeles at Union Station.

The expansion is the first in 20 years for the rail service and will add four new stations in Riverside County:

The project cost about $250 million and took three years to build. Metrolink will offer service on the new section three times daily, Monday through Friday.

The new service is just one of many changes Metrolink has made in recent months as it attempts to rebuild ridership that had dropped amid mounting complaints of delays and train breakdowns.

Fare reductions and the introduction of student and short-distance tickets have boosted ridership by about 10 percent over the last year.

The Metrolink board last week approved a second fare reduction for shorter trips that will go into effect on July 1.

Metrolink also recently enabled electronic ticketing with its new smartphone app.