Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak on-time standards’

STB Forms Passenger Working Group

April 17, 2021

A working group has been created by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to develop plans to enforce on-time performance rules for intercity passenger-rail service.

The STB said the group will oversee a rule formulated in November 2020 by the Federal Railroad Administration that established metrics and minimum standards.

In a news release, the STB said Frank O’Connor will serve as chair of the passenger rail working group.

Frank O’Connor is deputy director of the STB’s Office of Economics.

The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 gave the STB authority to investigate and adjudicate issues related to on-time performance of Amtrak’s intercity service under the new metrics and standards.

Those rules will be implemented on July 1, with quarterly reporting by the FRA to begin the following month.

The FRA rule defines on-time as the arrival of passengers at their destination station no later than 15 minutes after their published scheduled arrival time.

The FRA’s rule requires Amtrak and its host railroads to certify Amtrak schedules and sets an on-time performance minimum standard of 80 percent for any two consecutive calendar quarters.

Under federal law, the STB is authorized to investigate a failure to meet the on-time performance standard, either on its own initiative or upon complaint by Amtrak or another eligible complainant, to determine whether and to what extent that failure is due to causes that could be reasonably addressed by a rail carrier over whose tracks the intercity passenger train operates or by Amtrak or other intercity passenger rail operators.

The STB may identify reasonable measures and make recommendations to improve train service, quality and on-time performance.

Federal regulators may also award damages and prescribe other relief should the STB determine that failure to meet the on-time performance standard was attributable to a host railroad’s failure to provide preference to Amtrak over freight transportation.

The on-time passenger standards have been a decade in the making.

Earlier attempts to create an on-time standard were challenged by the Association of American Railroads in court and the case twice reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

The working group will also “explore the feasibility of creating an office at the STB focused on passenger rail issues and the creation of a Passenger Rail Advisory Committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act,” among other functions.

FRA to Take Another Crack at Amtrak on-Time Rule

March 24, 2020

Federal regulators are taking another stab at promulgating rules to define on-time standards for Amtrak.

The Federal Railroad Administration last week suggested that the rule would set a minimum performance standard of 80 percent.

In a news release, the FRA said its proposal would give Amtrak, its passengers, service providers, the FRA and others a common tool to help objectively gauge intercity passenger rail travel.

“Eighty percent is a minimum standard,” said FRA Administrator Ronald Batory. “We expect many routes will be much more reliable. Clarity should help all parties ensure compliance.”

To develop the standard, FRA said it and Amtrak consulted with many stakeholders, including the Class I railroads that host Amtrak trains, states, labor unions, an advocacy group that represents Amtrak riders, and the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

The rule would contain additional measurements for evaluating how well Amtrak serves the public, including financial performance and customer service metrics.

The FRA said the proposed rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register in the near future.

Public hearings, likely to be held online, will also follow a 60-day public comment period.