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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Annual ridership to exceed 30 million for first time, Amtrak says


Amtrak officials are predicting the national intercity passenger railroad’s ridership will exceed 30 million for the first time in its history when the current fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Amtrak is basing the projection on strong June ridership numbers and anticipated high ticket sales for July, August and September. In June, the railroad posted record ridership at more than 2.6 million passengers and marked 20 consecutive months of year-over-year ridership gains, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement.

“We are having a very strong year because people around the country are choosing the convenience, efficiency and hassle-free environment of Amtrak to meet their travel needs,” Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Boardman said. “Amtrak has wisely invested the federal funding we have received to improve infrastructure and equipment. Continued investment in Amtrak and passenger rail will support the further growth of this increasingly vital transportation option.”

Amtrak has set annual ridership records in seven of the last eight fiscal years, including more than 28.7 million passengers in FY2010.

In the first nine months of FY2011, ridership rose 6.4 percent compared with the same period in FY2010. All three major business lines posted gains: the Northeast Corridor at 5.6 percent; state-supported and other short distance corridors at 7.8 percent; and long-distance trains at 3.9 percent.

Factors contributing to ridership growth include high gasoline prices, continued growth of business travel on the Acela Express and effective marketing campaigns, Amtrak officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/13/2011