NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) — Ridership on Rhode Island's commuter rail service has risen 50 percent over the same time last year after the state made them free.

Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti tells The Providence Journal ( ) the state's period of free rides for in-state trains is going well. He says once the free-ride period is over, they'll be "looking for the sweet spot" for fares low enough to entice people to ride.

The state is waiving fares on trains that travel among the state's three commuter rail stations, Providence, Warwick's T.F. Green or North Kingstown's Wickford Junction, from this month through the end of the year.

The DOT says it counted 353 passengers boarding at Wickford on July 5 and 328 passengers on July 13, up from 222 passengers boarding last July.