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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak registers second-highest passenger count in FY09; TriMet posts ridership drop in September


During fiscal-year 2009, which ended Sept. 30, Amtrak carried 27.2 million passengers — the national intercity passenger railroad’s second-highest annual ridership since it began operations in 1971. The record of 28.7 million passengers was set in FY2008.

“Reduced business travel along the Northeast Corridor prevented us from reaching the ridership we achieved last year,” said Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman in a prepared statement.

Fifteen long-distance trains boosted ridership a total of 0.7 percent, while Amtrak registered ridership gains in the following corridors: Chicago-St. Louis (6 percent); Raleigh-Charlotte Piedmont (3.8 percent); Harrisburg-Philadelphia-New York Keystone Service (2.7 percent); and Washington-St. Albans Vermonter (1.9 percent).

In addition, passenger counts increased 22.3 percent on the Los Angeles-Seattle Coast Starlight, 9.8 percent on the L.A.-New Orleans Sunset Limited, 3.6 percent on the San Antonio-Chicago Texas Eagle, 3.4 percent on the New York-Miami Silver Meteor and 1.1 percent on the Silver Star.

FY2009 ticket revenue totaled $1.6 billion vs. $1.7 billion the previous fiscal year and on-time performance topped 80 percent system-wide vs. 71 percent in FY2008.

Meanwhile, the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) reported September ridership of 8.3 million rail and bus trips, down 4 percent compared with September 2008’s total. Ridership was impacted by service cuts, the ongoing recession, double-digit unemployment levels and lower gas prices, TriMet officials said in a statement.

The opening of the MAX Green Line helped total MAX light-rail ridership increase 12 percent to 785,000 trips. Weekday MAX trips rose 9.8 percent to 121,200, rush-hour trips increased 6.7 percent to 36,400 and weekend trips jumped 19.1 percent to 179,000.

TriMet's new WES commuter-rail service, which opened in February, registered 5,625 weekly trips in September.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/13/2009