Report Says Better OT Could Save Amtrak Money

An improvement of 5 percent in on-time performance on all routes could save Amtrak $12.1 million a year the carrier’s Office of Inspector General said this week.

That would include $8.2 million in reduced costs and $3.9 million in increased revenue, the OIG officials said in a news release.

“In the longer term, if OTP on long-distance routes could improve to 75 percent and be sustained at that level for at least a year, the company could realize an estimated $41.9 million per year in cost savings, and a one-time savings of $336 million by reducing equipment replacement needs,” the OIG reported.

The OIG said Amtrak doesn’t fully and systematically measure the impact of poor OTP, resulting in limited data to use to determine consequences.

In its report, the OIG recommended Amtrak update its methods of measuring on-time performance so that it can more reliably determine the financial impact that late trains have on the railroad.

In a response, Amtrak said it agreed with OIG’s findings and recommendation.

The carrier said poor on-time performance is primarily driven by delays caused by its host railroads.

The Amtrak OIG’s findings were in addition to savings that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s OIG found were possible if Amtrak improved on-time performance.

The Amtrak OIG report “confirm late trains impact every aspect of our operations, from equipment usage and staffing, to trip-time competitiveness and reliability for our customers,” said Dennis Newman, Amtrak executive vice president of strategy and planning, in a statement.

“Extrapolating the results over a five-year period, there is more than $1 billion denied to our state and federal investors because Amtrak customers are not getting the reliable service they deserve and are lawfully entitled to receive,” Newman added.

In a releated development Amtrak released its annual report card that grades each of the six Class I host railroads based on delays caused to Amtrak trains over the past year.

For 2018, Amtrak gave the Class Is’ a “C” average based on the “passenger experience” of late trains and on-time arrivals.

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