Trains For America

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March Amtrak ridership down

It is part of an industry trend.  The Detroit News has a story I am sure we will hear more of today. (It would be nice if the reporter understood that Acela is not “high speed rail.”) There is bad news for the Carolinian. At the risk of being called an Amtrak cheerleader, I am wondering what type of statistical “glitch” might be at work here.

The railroad’s Carolinian route, between Charlotte, N.C., and New York City, had the biggest dropoff, down 45 percent to 14,032. Ridership on the railroad’s Northeast Regional trains between Boston and Washington fell 15 percent to 548,695, and passenger loads on the Acela line, the nation’s only high-speed rail route, dropped 8.5 percent to 263,970.

Filed under: Amtrak, Regional USA Passenger Rail

5 Responses

  1. Eric H says:

    Given that we are after all in a recession, I think it would be more prudent not to compare ridership numbers this month with previous months, but instead to compare the drop in Amtrak’s ridership numbers with drops in other modes of transportation. Even driving is seeing record dropoffs, hence the drop in oil prices…

  2. The Carolinian numbers might have something to do with the fact that , for most of the month of March, the train has been annulled entirely on Mondays (due to Norfolk Southern track work between Greensboro & High Point) and only ran between Charlotte and Raleigh the other four weekdays (due to CSX track work between Richmond and Rocky Mount). Weekend ridership has probably been up because of this.

  3. Randy P says:

    I am a frequent user of the New York to Philadelphia routes with occasional travel to Boston and Washington, DC. Amtrak’s price increases have made this travel prohibitive most of the time if it is for personal use. Even though I love the train and it’s a lot faster and more convenient than the bus or a car, about 80% of the time I’ll go with the bus because of the enormous price difference.

  4. Nate M says:

    Randy, an excellent way to help curb the rising cost of tickets is to join NARP (the National Association of Railroad Passengers). By joining, you receive a 15% discount on Amtrak tickets (except for Acela, I believe).

  5. Kyle J Emge says:

    NARP does give a discount on all Amtrak, except that it is 10%, you can’t use it on Acela and you must book three days in advance.

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April 2009


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