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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak reaches new ridership high in FY2010


Yesterday, Amtrak announced it set a ridership record in fiscal-year 2010 at 28.7 million passengers, up 5.7 percent, or 1.55 million passengers, compared with FY2009. Ticket revenue for the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, rose 9 percent to $1.74 billion.

All Amtrak lines posted ridership growth. Ridership on long-distance routes rose 6.6 percent; state-supported and other short-distance routes, 6.5 percent; and the Northeast Corridor, 4.3 percent.

The national intercity passenger railroad attributes the ridership spike to a moderately improved economy that helped increase business travel along the Northeast Corridor, the increased popularity of rail travel, effective marketing campaigns, the introduction of Wi-Fi on Acela Express trains and high gasoline prices.

In the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak now has a 65 percent share of the air-rail market between Washington, D.C., and New York City, and a 52 percent share of the air-rail market between New York City and Boston, according to the railroad.

Since FY2000, Amtrak ridership has spiked nearly 37 percent. To help continue the trend, Amtrak is pursuing several initiatives, such as partnering with states to expand existing services and establish new routes, buying 130 new single-level long-distance passenger cars to modernize its fleet, and beginning the process to expand capacity along the Northeast Corridor. The railroad also is promoting its vision for a next-generation high-speed rail service that could reach speeds of 220 mph.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/12/2010