FRA Issues Amtrak Performance Metrics NPRM

Written by Andrew Corselli

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued an NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) for measuring the performance and service quality of Amtrak intercity passenger trains that operate on host freight railroad trackage. The proposed rule “would define Amtrak intercity passenger train on-time performance, and would set forth—on average—a minimum on-time performance standard of 80%,” FRA said.

The proposed performance and service quality metrics “aim to give customers, Amtrak, its service providers, FRA and others a common tool to help objectively gauge intercity passenger train travel,” FRA noted. “This rule proposes additional measurements for evaluating how well Amtrak serves the public, including financial performance and customer service metrics.”

As part of this effort, FRA and Amtrak consulted with many stakeholders, including each of the Class I’s that host Amtrak trains, states, Amtrak employee labor organizations, an advocacy group representing Amtrak passengers and the Surface Transportation Board.

The NPRM, which can be downloaded below, is expected to be published in the Federal Register in the near future. Written public comments on the NPRM may be submitted on or before 60 days from the date of the NPRM’s publication in the Federal Register. FRA intends to hold a public hearing, the details of which will be described in a future notice, and added that it will likely decide to hold a virtual public hearing to ensure consistency with CDC guidance.

“After extensive stakeholder consultation, FRA is proposing new metrics to promote transparency for railroads and travelers alike,” FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory said. “We expect that all parties are interested in achieving higher performance. Eighty percent is a minimum standard. We expect many routes will be much more reliable. Clarity should help all parties ensure compliance.”

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