Press release from Amtrak:

Amtrak sets new ridership record, thanks to passengers for taking the train
Strong performance shows demand for passenger rail continues to grow

(WASHINGTON, October 11, 2010) – Amtrak set a new annual ridership record of 28,716,857 passengers for the fiscal year ending September 30 and collected a record $1.74 billion in ticket revenue. The strong performance is evidence that the demand for passenger rail service is rising and that more Americans are choosing Amtrak — a greener and more convenient travel mode.

“We thank every passenger for choosing Amtrak to meet their intercity travel needs,” said President and CEO Joseph Boardman. “More and more people see passenger rail as a way to get to where they need to go, and when our front line employees put them first, it helps to bring passengers back for another trip.”

A year-over-year comparison of FY 2010 to FY 2009 shows total Amtrak ridership grew by 5.7 percent, or about 1.55 million passengers, and all Amtrak business lines experienced growth including the Northeast Corridor (up 4.3 percent), long-distance trains (up 6.6 percent), and state-supported and other short-distance routes (up 6.5 percent.) Over the same period, ticket revenue increased 9 percent, or more than $140 million.

Boardman said Amtrak’s relationship with other customers such as states and commuter agencies are also crucial. “Just as we must earn the loyalty of the customers who ride our trains, we must work to build stronger ties to our state and commuter customers,” he added, noting that Amtrak operates in an increasingly competitive environment.

Factors that contributed to Amtrak’s success in FY 2010 include a moderately improved economic environment allowing some recovery of business travel along the Northeast Corridor, the increased appeal and popularity of rail travel, effective marketing campaigns, the introduction of Wi-Fi on the high-speed Acela Express trains and sustained high gasoline prices.

In addition, continued difficulties with air travel and consumer dissatisfaction with air service are moving passengers from planes to trains particularly along the Northeast Corridor, where Amtrak now enjoys a 65 percent share of the air-rail market between Washington and New York and a 52 percent share of the air-rail market between New York and Boston.

Since FY 2000, Amtrak ridership is up nearly 37 percent. To continue this long-term trend, Amtrak is pursuing several initiatives including partnering with states to expand existing services and establish new routes, buying 130 new single-level long-distance passenger cars to modernize its equipment fleet, and beginning the process to expand capacity along the Northeast Corridor to support growing demand. Amtrak is also promoting its vision for a world class nextgeneration high-speed rail service capable of achieving 220 mph (354 kph).

Furthermore, as required under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, Amtrak recently completed the first of several comprehensive reviews of its long-distance trains exploring every aspect of operations from on-time performance to on-board services to identify opportunities for improvement. The initial group of reports analyzed the Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, California Zephyr, Cardinal and Capitol Limited. The reports are available on Amtrak’s website.

 

About Amtrak
As the nation’s intercity passenger rail operator, Amtrak connects America in safer, greener and healthier ways. Last fiscal year (FY 2009), the railroad carried 27.2 million passengers, making it the second-best year in the company’s history. With 21,000 route miles in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces, Amtrak operates more than 300 trains each day—at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph)—to more than 500 destinations. Amtrak also is the partner of choice for state-supported corridor services in 15 states and for several commuter rail agencies. Visit Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information.

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