Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak ridership’

Amtrak Ridership up 1.5% in FY2017; Operating Loss Was Lowest it’s Been in Decades

November 16, 2017

Amtrak recorded its lowest operating loss in decades this year the carrier said on Thursday. The national passenger carrier said it broke passenger and revenue records for the year ending Sept. 30, helping to narrow its operating loss to $194 million.

During the period Amtrak recorded 31.7 million passenger trips, a 1.5 percent increase over FY2016 and had total revenue of $3.2 billion, an increase of 1.1 percent over FY 2016.

In breaking out ridership by service type, Amtrak said it carried 12 million in the Northeast Corridor, up 1 percent, which set a record.

State-supported trains carried 15 million passengers, a 2.1 percent increase, while the long-distance routes carried 4.6 million riders, an increase of 0.9 percent

Amtrak also set a record for cost recovery, covering 94.7 percent of its operating costs with ticket sales and other revenues.

“Over the next several years, we’re aiming to cover total operating costs from ticket and other revenues by strengthening our services and continuing to drive efficiency,” said Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia in a statement. “To do this, we are making investments in tracks and stations, on our trains, and in the delivery of customer service so that we can serve more customers with a better experience.”

Amtrak said it cuts its debt from $3.3 billion on Sept. 30, 2007, to $1.2 billion on Sept. 30, 2017, a reduction of 64 percent over the 10-year period.

Other notable milestones for Amtrak in FY2017 included a 19 percent increase in membership in its Amtrak Guest Rewards program and launching a national partnership with ride-sharing service Lyft.


Downeaster Service Beat FY2017 Ridership Goal

July 17, 2017

Amtrak’s Downeaster service carried more than 511,000 passengers during fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30. That was an increase over 2016 ridership and 2017 ridership goals by 9 percent.

The route between Boston North Station and Brunswick, Maine, saw its heaviest ridership during July and September 2016 and during January, February, April, and June 2017.

The record for patronage was posted in 2014 when the Downeasters hosted 518,000 passenger trips.

The service began in December 2001 between Portland, Maine, and Boston and was extended to Brunswick in November 2012.

Illinois Amtrak Ridership Fell in FY 2016

January 12, 2017

Amtrak ridership in Illinois fell by 3.5 percent in fiscal year 2016. Recent figures released by state transportation officials show that more than 4.6 million rode on Amtrak trains in the state.

IllinoisNot surprisingly, Chicago topped the list of the busiest Amtrak stations in Illinois.

Most of the cities on that list are college towns. Behind Chicago the busiest Amtrak stations were Normal-Bloomington, Springfield, Champaign-Urbana, Carbondale, Galesburg and Macomb.

All of those cities also have multiple Amtrak frequencies per day.

Systemwide, Amtrak carried more than 31 million people in FY 2016, an increase of 2 percent over the previous year.

Amtrak Reports ‘Exceptional’ FY 2016

November 17, 2016

Amtrak said on Thursday that unaudited financial records show that it ended fiscal year 2016 in an exceptional financial position.

Amtrak logoTicket revenue was a record $2.14 billion, a $12 million increase over FY 2015. The carrier served 31.3 million passengers, nearly 400,000 more than the previous year.

It was the sixth consecutive year that Amtrak has carried more than 30 million customers.

Amtrak said it covered 94 percent of its operating costs with ticket sales and other revenues, up from 92 percent in the previous fiscal year.

The unaudited total revenue was a record $3.2 billion for FY 2016. Amtrak reported an unaudited operating loss of $227 million, a reduction of $78 million over last year, and the lowest operating loss since 1973.

This helped the passenger carrier make a net reduction in long-term debt of $71.4 million.

“The results demonstrate the value we deliver to our customers and the vital role Amtrak plays in our nation’s transportation system,” said Amtrak Chairman of the Board Anthony Coscia in a statement. “We are off to another strong start for the new fiscal year and will provide a great travel experience for customers who choose Amtrak in the upcoming holiday season.”

Several Amtrak services had record years in ridership and revenue including the Northeast Regional (Boston-New York-Washington/Virginia), Pacific Surfliner (San Luis Obispo-San Diego), Capitol Corridor (San Jose-Sacramento/Auburn), Keystone (New York-Philadelphia-Harrisburg) and Hiawatha (Milwaukee-Chicago) state-sponsored corridors, along with the California Zephyr (Chicago-San Francisco Bay).

To boost ridership, Amtrak added cars to high-demand or sold-out trains. On time performance of trains and customer satisfaction scores both improved.

The 2016 fiscal year ended on Sept. 30.

Amtrak Set 2016 Ridership, Revenue Records

October 22, 2016

Low gasoline prices did not prevent Amtrak from breaking revenue and ridership records fiscal year 2016.

Amtrak logoThe passenger carrier hosted about 31.2 million passengers, up 1.3 percent from 2015, and generated $2.2 billion in ticket revenue, up 0.03 percent.

Former Amtrak President Joseph Boardman had earlier this year imposed various cost-cutting measures, saying that Amtrak faced a $167.3-million ticket revenue shortfall compared with the amount originally budgeted.

However, the carrier’s actual performance exceeded the revised downward forecast by 3.3 percent even as it was 4.3 percent off the original FY 2016 projection.

The California Zephyr posted an 11.2 percent increase in ridership and 6.2 percent increase in revenue.

The removal of full-service dining cars and meals included in sleeping car fares on the Silver Star led to a 5 percent decline in passengers and 11.6 percent in ticket revenue.

The Auto Train lost more than 12 percent of its riders and almost 8 percent of its revenue.

Among state-supported corridor trains, a push to complete infrastructure improvements to create higher speed service depressed ridership and revenue of Wolverine Service and Lincoln Service trains due to service cancellations.

The quad-weekly Hoosier State carried about as many passengers in 2016 as it did the previous year, but revenue increased by about $250,000 or 36 percent.

The offering of premium business class service by operator Iowa Pacific was credited with the increase in revenue.

Although Amtrak’s ridership and revenue data do not show passenger mile or revenue per-train mile comparisons, the 15 long-distance trains generated slightly more ticket revenue carrying less than 32 percent of the passengers of the state-supported trains.

This is partly  because the long-distance trains offer such higher-price services as sleeping car accommodations.

Falling Gas Prices, Mild Winter Depress December Amtrak Ridership on Michigan, Indiana Routes

January 20, 2016

Lower gasoline prices and mild winter weather took a toll on Amtrak ridership in the Midwest in December.

News reports this week indicated that ridership on the Chicago-Grand Rapids, Michigan, Pere Marquette fell by 24 percent in December.

Amtrak logoPartronage had fallen 18 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, for a loss of 4,800 riders between October and December.

Nearly half of that decline (2,559) occurred in December when revenue fell by $68,000 in December. For the quarter, Pere Marquette revenue fell by $132,675.

Ridership declined by 7.8 percent in St. Joseph, Michigan; about 9 percent in Chicago; 11 percent in Bangor, Michigan; 25.6 percent in Holland, Michigan; and 28 percent in Grand Rapids.

The Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State saw its December ridership fall from what it had been in December 2014.

An online report said the Hoosier State carried 3,043 last month versus 3,259 in 2014.

Earlier in 2015, Iowa Pacific Holding took over management of the Hoosier State, assigning its own equipment and on-board service crews. The IP service includes business class service that provide hot meals in a dome car.

Ticket revenue for the Hoosier State was $76,413 in December 2015 versus $83,878 in December 2014 when it was an Amtrak train.

Amtrak engineers and conductors continue to operate the quad-weekly Hoosier State under contract with IP.

Amtrak patronage at New Buffalo, Michigan, which is served by the Chicago-Detroit (Pontiac) Wolverine Service trains, rose 3.8 percent in December. On the same route, Niles saw a decline of 22.4 percent while Dowagiac was down 4.1 percent.

Amtrak Ridership Up in Kansas, Down in Missouri

December 31, 2015

Amtrak ridership in the Midwest during fiscal year 2015 continued to be mixed bag with patronage rising in Kansas while falling in Missouri.

The Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief, which serves six Kansas stations, posted a record year with more than 367,000 passengers.

The six Kansas stations on the route served more than 49,000 of those passengers, a slight increase over 2014.

On the other hand, the Missouri River Runner route between St. Louis and Kansas City saw a decline of 10,000 passengers in FY2015, carrying about 179,000 for the year that ended Sept. 30.

The Missouri Department of Transportation, which helps underwrite the costs of the River Runner trains, blamed low gasoline prices, which are about 24 cents a gallon lower than they wre a year ago, says the American Automobile Association

“When gas prices go down, we do see ridership fall some,” said Kristi Jamison, railroad operations manager at the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Missouri is also served by the Southwest Chief and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

MoDOT officials also said that track work that resulted in delays and cancellations also had an adverse effect on River Runner ridership.

The River Runner operates twice daily over Union Pacific tracks.

Chronic Delays Took Their Toll on Revenue, Ridership in FY 2015 of Amtrak’s Empire Builder

December 29, 2015

Amtrak ticket sales on its 15 long-distance routes dropped by $13 million in fiscal year 2015 and one of the biggest “losers” among them was the Empire Builder.

Ticket revenue for the Chicago-Seattle/Portland train fell by $4 million to $50.5 million, which was a 7.3 percent decline.

Empire Builder ridership fell by 3 percent to 438,000 passengers. That was the seventh fastest drop among the 15 lines on the national network.

Petroleum was at the center of the woes of Nos. 7 and 8 in the former of cheaper gasoline prices that enticed some to drive who might have taken the train.

Another factor was delays caused by freight congestion that was triggered by rising traffic carrying crude oil on the BNSF route used by the train.

“We’ve had some tough operating years,” said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. “There was a lot of freight congestion in 2013, 2014.

Of course the oil boom also benefited the Empire Builder. Minot and Williston, North Dakota, both located in the heart of the oil fields, were second only to Chicago in origins and destinations for passengers beginning or ending their journey in Minnesota.

But ridership along the Minnesota and Twin Cities portion of the line has been off substantially.

Since 2008, a year of severe spikes in gas prices, Minnesota ridership has fallen from nearly 200,000 to 136,000 in 2014. In the Twin Cities alone, ridership dropped from 138,000 to 90,000 during that same period, even as hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in St. Paul Union Depot.

Overall, Amtrak ridership dipped slightly from 30.92 million passengers in FY 2014 to 30.88 million in FY 2015.

Amtrak’s Magliari said the Empire Builder has started to see better days.

“We’ve started to see improvements, but our on-time performance is still not what we’d like it to be, though it’s better than it was,” he said. “We had strong gains in the last few months of the fiscal year as we had a more reliable, better product, and we expect to improve even more.”


February CSX Crude Oil Train Derailment Helped to Depress Cardinal Ridership in FY 2015

December 28, 2015

Two Amtrak routes serve West Virginia and one of them suffered a service disruption last February following a CSX crude oil train derailment.

But that did not stop the Charleston Amtrak station from seeing an increase in ridership in fiscal year 2015.

The fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. Served by the tri-weekly Chicago-New York Cardinal, Charleston boarded and discharged 9,844 passengers. That is an increase of 1.75 percent over the FY 2015 ridership figures.

Martinsburg, served by the daily Chicago-Washington, D.C., Capitol Limited , experienced a 4.9 percent increase in ridership to 10,309 passengers.

Overall, Amtrak ridership in West Virginia fell 2.9 percent in 2015, to 54,077. Charleston was the only station served by the Cardinal to post a ridership increase.

Prince (which serves Beckley) and Hinton each saw drops of nearly 12 percent, with 2,925 passengers at Prince and 7,506 at Hinton.

Huntington experienced a 7 percent drop in ridership, going from 11,515 to 10,706 passengers in 2015.

White Sulphur Springs had a 1 percent decline, from 5,165 to 5,107 passengers. Two flag stops on the route of the Cardinal saw ridership declines of more than 20 percent, with 432 passengers at Alderson, and 295 passengers at Thurmond. The latter is the smallest town in America with regularly scheduled intercity passenger rail service.

Montgomery’s 2015 ridership of 639 was down just two passengers from 2014.

Harpers Ferry, which is served by the Capitol Limited, gained one passenger from 2014, for total ridership of 6,314.

The crude oil derailment on Feb. 16 in Mount Carbon closed the route of the Cardinal through West Virginia for 11 days. Amtrak canceled 10 trips of the Cardinal through West Virginia.

Chuck Riecks, vice chairman for government relations for the National Association of Railroad Passengers, and co-chairman of the Friends of the Cardinal advocacy group, expressed surprise that Charleston ridership gained in FY 2015 considering the February service disruption.

“Thankfully, they were, shall we say, in the slow time of the year,” he said. “It would have been much worse if it occurred in a peak period.”

Amtrak said the 10 cancellations resulted in a 37 percent drop in ridership on the Cardinal, which carried 4,418 passengers in February 2015 compared with 6,512 passengers in February 2014.

Peak ridership for the Cardinal came in July when it carried 10,845 passengers.

Riecks said ridership at the Charleston station has been consistent in recent years.

“Charleston’s sort of stuck in the 9,500-to-10,500 range,” he said, adding, “We never seem to crack the 11,000 mark.”

The Cardinal operates through Charleston on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays in both directions.

The 2015 ridership in the capital city of West Virginia worked out to an average of 32.6 passengers boarding or detraining per train.

By comparison, 2015 ridership for other Amtrak stations served by the Cardinal included: Cincinnati, 12,503; Staunton, Virginia, 6,735; Ashland, Kentucky, 2,581; Maysville, Kentucky, 2,279; Clifton Forge, Virginia, 2,247; South Shore, Kentucky, 1,057; and Connersville, Indiana, 770.

Illinois Amtrak Ridership Fell 4% in FY 2015

December 17, 2015

Ridership on Amtrak trains and routes serving Illinois and funded by the state fell by 4 percent in the past federal fiscal year, which Amtrak said was due to more driving and service interruptions.

Amtrak carried nearly 1.3 million passengers in Illinois for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2015.

Most of the service disruptions occurred on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor where Amtrak, Union Pacific and the Illinois Department of Transportation have been working on a $1.8 billion high-speed rail project.

At various times, Amtrak’s Lincoln Service trains were canceled in favor of buses. The Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle detoured on those days on another UP route.

Amtrak has also cited weather-related delays and service suspensions for resulting in revenues and ridership being relatively flat during FY 2015.

“We had plenty of construction improvements,” Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said in reference to the Illinois high-speed rail work of which the federal government is contributing $1.6 billion toward the goal of operating trains at 110 mph between Chicago and St. Louis.

Magliari said the buses have lower capacity and do not travel as fast as the trains.

Amtrak operates eight Lincoln Service trains plus the Texas Eagle in the Chicago-St. Louis corridor.

Ridership between Chicago and St. Louis was 682,296, a decline of 5 percent from the previous year.

Patronage fell 4 percent on the Chicago-Carbondale route to 358,578 while the Chicago-Quincy route carried 244,444 passengers for a decline of 2 percent.

Illinois funds four trains in the Carbondale and Quincy corridors. The Carbondale corridor is also served by the City of New Orleans which operates between Chicago and New Orleans.

Although the administration of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed cutting the amount of state support for Amtrak operations, the state still plans to carry out the final phase of the high-speed rail work in 2016.

IDOT’s Brian Williamsen said work in 2016 will include crossing improvements, station and siding construction, and added bridge and structure upgrades. Positive train control systems will also be installed.

Amtrak trains began operating at speeds of up to 110 mph between Pontiac and Dwight in 2012, but Williamsen said the focus now is on completion of track and network upgrades in 2017.

“We don’t have 110-mph projections to pass along at this time,” he said.

Magliari said Amtrak expects to take possession of new locomotives next year that will allow for 110-mph speeds, but it has not yet been determined how many could be assigned to Illinois routes.