Written by Sean Jeans Gail
Amtrak setting the ninth annual ridership record in ten years
is good news. Amtrak setting the ninth
ridership record in ten years after months of near constant Amtrak bashing is
great news. When NARP talks about there
being "really basic factors that are driving the love for trains [that
are] going to be difficult for any candidate to ignore," this is what we
We’re printing the full press release, because this railroad
deserves its day in the spotlight:
– Amtrak carried more than 31.2 million passengers in Fiscal Year 2012 ending
September 30, marking the highest annual ridership total since America’s
Railroad® started operations in 1971 and the ninth ridership record during the
last ten years.
A year-over-year comparison of FY
2012 to FY 2011 shows ridership grew 3.5 percent to a new record of 31,240,565
passengers and ticket revenue jumped 6.8 percent to a best ever $2.02 billion.
In addition, Amtrak system-wide on-time performance increased to 83 percent, up
from 78.1 percent and its highest level in 12 years.
"People are riding Amtrak trains
in record numbers across the country because there is an undeniable demand to
travel by rail," said President and CEO Joe Boardman. "Ridership will
continue to grow because of key investments made by Amtrak and our federal and
state partners to improve on-time performance, reliability, capacity and train
During FY 2012, ridership on the
Northeast Corridor is up 4.8 percent to a record 11.4 million, state-supported
and other short distance routes is up 2.1 percent to a record 15.1 million and
long-distance services is up 4.7 percent to their best showing in 19 years at
Also, FY 2012 produced other
ridership achievements including new records for 25 of 44 Amtrak services, and
12 consecutive monthly records with July being the single best month in the
history of Amtrak. Since FY 2000, Amtrak ridership is up 49 percent.
Boardman noted ridership numbers for
FY 2013 will get an early boost this fall when the extension of Downeaster
service to Freeport and Brunswick, Maine begins
Nov. 1, and Amtrak Virginia Northeast Regional service is
extended to Norfolk, Va., starting Dec.12.
contributing to Amtrak long-term ridership growth include improved passenger
services such as Wi-Fi and eTicketing, high gasoline prices, continued growth
in business travel on the Northeast Corridor, the increased appeal and
popularity of rail travel, dissatisfaction with congested highways and air
travel, and effective marketing campaigns.
Amtrak intends to provide FY 2012
ridership information by state and station next week.
Ridership Highlights FY 2012 vs.
Northeast Corridor (NEC) The
NEC between Washington and Boston had a 4.8 percent increase in
ridership to its best year ever with more than 11.4 million passengers.
Specifically, ridership on the Northeast Regional service is up 6.6
percent to a new record of more than 8.0 million and the high-speed Acela
Express is up 0.5 percent to its second-best year ever to nearly 3.4
Northeast Ridership on the Keystone
Service (New York – Harrisburg) is up 5.8 percent to a new record
of more than 1.4 million. Other ridership record setting routes include: Downeaster
(Boston – Portland)
up 4.3 percent to more than 541,000; Adirondack (New
York – Montreal) up 5.3 percent to
nearly 132,000; and Ethan Allen (New York
– Rutland, Vt.) up 10 percent to more than 54,000.
Routes with notable percentage growth increases include Vermonter (Washington
– St. Albans, Vt.) up 5.5 percent to more than 82,000, Empire Service (New
York – Albany) up 3.8 percent to more than 1.06 million and Pennsylvanian (New
York – Pittsburgh) up 2.2 percent to more than 212,000.
Hub / Midwest The combined ridership on
the Chicago-St. Louis corridor from Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle trains
increased 11 percent to set a new record of more than 675,000 passengers. Other
routes setting ridership records include: Hiawatha Service (Chicago – Milwaukee) up 2.3
percent to more than 838,000; Missouri River Runner (St.
Louis – Kansas City) up 5.3 percent
to nearly 196,000; and Blue Water (Chicago
– Port Huron)
up 1.1 percent to more than 189,000.
West Coast San Joaquin (Bakersfield – Oakland)
is up 7.2 percent to new record of more than 1.1 million riders. Capitol
Corridor (San Jose
– Sacramento/Auburn) up 2.2 percent also set a new record with nearly 1.75
and North Carolina In Virginia, the Washington – Lynchburg
service is up 14.1 percent to a new record of almost 185,000 and the Washington – Newport
News service is up 11.9 percent also to a new record
of nearly 624,000 passengers. In North Carolina,
the Piedmont (Charlotte – Raleigh)
set a new record of more than 162,000 riders and had the best percentage
increase of all Amtrak routes at 16.2 percent.
Long-Distance Routes All 15
Amtrak long-distance routes experienced an increase in passengers resulting in
their best combined ridership numbers in 19 years. Routes setting new ridership
records include: Lake Shore Limited (Chicago
– New York) up 4.3 percent to almost 404,000;
Texas Eagle (Chicago
– San Antonio) up 12.8 percent to nearly
338,000; and City of New Orleans (Chicago – New
Orleans) up 8.5 percent to more than 253,000. Routes
with significant percentage growth in ridership include: the Empire Builder (Chicago
– Seattle/Portland) up 15.8 percent to more than 543,000; Coast Starlight (Los Angeles – Seattle) up
6.5 percent to more than 454,000; and Cardinal (New
York – Chicago)
up 4.9 percent to more than 116,000.
FY 2012 Ridership Facts
- 25 of 44 Amtrak services set new
- Amtrak set 12 consecutive monthly
ridership records; July was the single best month in the history of Amtrak
- Northeast Corridor had best year ever
with more than 11.4 million passengers
- State-supported and other short
distance routes had best year ever with 15.1 million passengers.
- All 15 long-distance routes saw an
increase in riders and combined had best ridership in 19 years with 4.7 million
- From FY 2000 to FY 2012, Amtrak
ridership is up 49 percent