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For the fourth-consecutive fiscal year, Amtrak posted record ridership. During the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, the national intercity passenger railroad carried 24.3 million passengers, up 1.3 percent compared with FY2005’s 24 million, which was adjusted from a record 25.4 million to reflect an October 2005 agreement to transfer “Clocker” service operations to New Jersey Transit.
The railroad also recorded all-time-high ticket revenue of $1.37 billion $132 million more than FY2005.
Business thrives in the Northeast
In the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak’s ticket revenue reached $725.4 million, a 12 percent increase compared with FY2005 totals. However, ridership dipped slightly from
9.6 million to 9.4 million, in part because Amtrak reduced ticket discounts in FY2006, according to the railroad.
Ridership on state-supported and short-distance services outside the Northeast Corridor totaled 11 million, a 4.5 percent increase compared with FY2005 totals. Ticket revenue of $287.8 million rose 11.9 percent compared with FY2005’s figure.
The Portland, Maine-to-Boston Downeaster, which carried 337,921 passengers, posted the largest year-over-year short-distance corridor gain. The line also recorded ticket revenue of $4.6 million, up 27.2 percent.
On the Harrisburg-to-Philadelphia Keystone Corridor, ridership grew 12.7 percent to 823,097 and ticket revenue rose 15.4 percent to $15.9 million.
At 580,333 passengers, the Milwaukee-to-Chicago Hiawatha service surpassed FY2005’s ridership record by more than 10 percent. The service’s ticket revenue totaled $6 million, a 14 percent increase compared with FY2005’s total.
Meanwhile, ridership on Amtrak’s long-distance routes fell 1 percent compared with last year’s total despite ridership gains on the Silver Star, Palmetto and Lake Shore Limited services
What used to be the bread and butter of MTA Metro-North Railroad’s business isn’t anymore.
Of the record 74.5 million passengers who rode the system in 2005, 49.5 percent traveled from their suburban homes to New York City. Off-peak, reverse commute and intermediate passengers now make up the majority of Metro-North’s ridership.
Although ridership has grown in all categories, the number of NYC-bound commuters has increased 17 percent while other commuting segments have shot up 126 percent since Metro-North opened in 1984.
More riders are using Metro-North trains to travel from New York City to suburban employment centers and between stations not including NYC’s Grand Central Terminal, and for non-work-related trips, the agency said.
Metro-North officials attribute the shift in regional travel patterns to the dispersion of the financial, insurance and real estate industries, growing suburban corporate office parks and development of high-rise office towers in suburban cities. The agency has pursued those markets by adding trains, adjusting schedules, advertising and providing shuttle buses between stations and job sites.
“We knew our real growth opportunity lay in the non-traditional markets, where we had the empty seats,” said Metro-North President Peter Cannito in a prepared statement.