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Rail News Home Passenger Rail

August 2008

Rail News: Passenger Rail

Transit agencies continue to wear out turnstiles at a rapid pace

It’s not a breaking news story, but it’s one transit agencies like to hear over and over again: Ridership is skyrocketing.

During fiscal-year 2007, Amtrak carried a record 25.8 million passengers, a 6.3 percent increase compared with FY2006’s total and the fifth-consecutive year the railroad has posted all-time-high ridership, according to an annual report issued last month.

For the 12th-straight year, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority set a ridership record on its Metrorail system, carrying 215.3 million passengers between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority posted an FY08 record, too, at 375 million passengers.

Transit-rail demand hasn’t let up so far in calendar year 2008. The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority’s commuter-rail ridership soared 20.8 percent during the first half to more than 2 million passengers.

And in the second quarter, ridership on Sound Transit’s Sounder commuter-rail line jumped 31 percent compared with second-quarter 2007’s total. The agency noted an even bigger monthly gain in June, when ridership rose 38 percent.

Meanwhile, Dallas Area Rapid Transit posted all-time-high average weekday ridership of 69,861 on its light-rail system, and Trinity Railway Express had a record average weekday ridership of 69,861 in June.

In addition, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority set an average weekday ridership record on three of its rail lines: the Blue Line (84,353), Green Line (44,034) and Gold Line (26,338).

Finally, the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon set an average weekly light-rail ridership record of 764,000 passengers and an average weekday ridership record of 118,200.


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