Amtrak sets ridership record in 2013

Amtrak set a new ridership record in Fiscal Year 2013, carrying 31.6 million passengers. Photo: Todd DeFeo

ATLANTA, Oct. 16, 2013 — Amtrak set a new ridership record in Fiscal Year 2013, carrying 31.6 million passengers, the railroad announced.

This year’s record breaks the high mark set during Fiscal Year 2012, when the railroad carried 31.2 million passengers. The latest record is the 10th ridership record the railroad has set in the last 11 years.

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Trains operating on the Northeast Corridor saw a 0.2 percent decline in ridership while state-supported trains saw a 2.2 percent increase in riders. Amtrak’s network of long-distance trains experienced a 0.4 percent increase in the number of passengers.

“This year’s record ridership was achieved station by station in the more than 500 communities across America that Amtrak serves,” Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman said in a statement.

In addition to ridership gains, the railroad also posted a 4.2 percent increase in ticket revenue during the fiscal year.

“More people are aware and more people recognize the value,” the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review quoted Craig Schultz, an Amtrak spokesman, as saying. “It’s the convenience, the comfort factor, the productivity factor (for riders) on a train — all of those things combined.”

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To celebrate the new record, Amtrak is offering 31 percent off companion rail travel. To take advantage of the deal, which is valid on coach seats on select trains, passengers must purchase tickets between Oct. 15 and Oct. 21, for travel Oct. 22 through Dec. 12.

Meanwhile, Amtrak on Tuesday announced it has reached agreements with 19 state departments of transportation to increase state control and funding of 28 current passenger rail routes.

Under the agreements, which fulfill Section 209 of the federal Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, states pay roughly 85 percent of operating costs. States also pay for capital maintenance costs of the Amtrak equipment they use and also any costs of marketing and safety programs while Amtrak picks up about 15 percent of what it calls “backbone” costs, including centralized dispatching.

Earlier this month, Amtrak said it is committed to eliminating losses on its food and beverage over the next five years. The railroad’s losses on food service have been a point of contention for critics who point to the passenger railroad as an example of government waste.

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Amtrak says 99 percent of its food service losses are on long-distance trains Congress requires the railroad to operate.


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Todd DeFeo

Todd DeFeo jouned The Washington Times Communities in May 2012. He covers travel and Georgia. A marketing professional who never gave up his award-winning journalistic ways, DeFeo revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He also serves as editor of The Travel Trolley.


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