Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak FY 2014 ridership’

Amtrak Ridership Declined in FY 2014

October 21, 2014

Amtrak’s string of record-breaking ridership records was snapped last month. For fiscal year 2014, which ended on Sept. 30, Amtrak’s system ridership fell from 31.56 million in 2013 to 30.92 million in 2014.

Excessive tardiness caused by host railroad freight congestion led to declines in patronage of key long-distance trains, which depressed the overall patronage number despite a 10 percent surge in ridership in the Northeast Corridor.

Patronage of the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder was down by 17 percent in September, with Nos. 7 and 8 carrying 450,932 in FY 2014.

The Empire Builder had Amtrak’s highest ridership among long-distance trains in FY 2013, but in FY 2014, it was eclipsed by the Los Angeles-Seattle Coast Starlight, which carried 459,450.

The Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited saw its ridership decline by 11.6 percent in September. Long-distance train ridership fell by about 200,000 during FY 2014.

Another factor in the diminished system ridership was a technological advance. Previously, Amtrak estimated multi-ride ticketholder numbers, but now it can record precise ridership numbers because each passenger’s ticket is scanned aboard the train.

This affected ridership numbers for such commuter-heavy routes as California’s Capitol, Pennsylvania’s Keystone, and Maine’s Downeaster corridors where the patronage was down by 589,000.

Ticket sales for the long-distance fleet fell by more than $15 million in FY 2014, but that was offset by sales on other trains that enabled Amtrak to post another revenue record. In FY 2014, Amtrak ticket sales were up 4 percent to $2.189 million compared with $2.105 million in FY 2013.

Much of the increase came from an 8.2 percent boost in the Northeast Corridor, which accounts for 54.5 percent of the Amtrak’s system ticket sales. Long-distance trains generate 23.3 percent of ticket sales while state-supported routes provide 22.2 percent.