Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Amtrak ridership strong in first half of FY13

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Amtrak Tuesday said ridership continues to grow on the nation's intercity passenger railroad, with records continuing to be set, including for the first six months of fiscal year 2013, which began Oct. 1, 2012.

Amtrak ridership grew 0.9% the first six months of FY 2013, measured against the comparable period in 2012, and despite disruptions caused in late October by Hurricane Sandy, which impacted service along much of the Northeast Corridor; NEC six-month ridership was down 1.2%.

Ridership records were set for the individual months of October, December, January, and March during the past six months, Amtrak said. Amtrak expects to end FY13 fd"at or above last year's record of 31.2 million passengers."

"The continued ridership growth on routes across the country reinforces the need for dedicated, multi-year federal operating and capital funding to support existing intercity passenger rail services and the development of new ones," said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman.

Offsetting NEC ridership losses were gains on state-supported and other short distance routes, which were up 2.7%. Long-distance ridership was up 0.5%. Among individual performers Amtrak's Palmetto (led gainers, up 10.5% over the six-molnth period, followed by the Coast Starlight, up 10%.

Amtrak's budget request to Congress for FY14, driven in part by healthy ridership and resultant revenue, seeks a lower amount for operations but more capital investment, to handle expected increases in ridership.