Here is a regional angle on the new passenger figures from the Arkansas NARP head, Dr. Bill Pollard. He also chairs the TEMPO marketing group for the Eagle.
Earlier today, Amtrak issued a press release which details ridership for the fiscal year concluding on September 30, 2008.
The national ridership across the system for FY-2008 was almost 29 million passengers. This was the LARGEST number of passengers carried in one fiscal year since Amtrak began operating in 1971. Amtrak’s press release highlights the Texas Eagle as achieving a 15.2% ridership increase (compared to FY-2007). This increase was the largest percentage increase of ANY national network train. The Texas Eagle revenue increase for the fiscal year was 18.8% — surpassed only by the Cardinal route, which achieved 19.0% revenue increase.
Many factors have helped contribute to the Texas Eagle’s strong showing, perhaps the most important being a core group of dedicated employees (both management and union) who are determined to see this route succeed, despite often overwhelming odds. The determination of those employees is bolstered by the political and promotional efforts of TEMPO, ETCC, and other groups, all of whom fully expect to see not only a continuation, but an expansion of rail passenger service along the route of the Texas Eagle.
The Texas Eagle still faces many challenges, but there is no question that progress is gradually being made. As we continue to address remaining challenges, step back for a moment, reflect on this milestone, and know that you are an important part of this success. Thank you for your unwavering support of the Texas Eagle, and for your commitment to a modern, efficient rail passenger network for the future.
Bill Pollard, chair
Texas Eagle Marketing & Performance Organization (TEMPO)