Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak ticket revenue’

Marshall Seeking to Keep Ticket Office Open

May 3, 2018

Rail passenger advocates in Texas have launched a campaign to try to get Amtrak to reverse a decision to close its ticket office in Marshall, Texas.

The ticket window is one of 15 that Amtrak plans to shut down between now and late June.

Marshall is on the route of the Texas Eagle and the ticket office on the route in Texarkana, Arkansas-Texas is also slated to close.

Amtrak has just one employee in its Marshall ticket office. It plans to hire a caretaker who will open and close the waiting room at train time and keep it clean.

The passenger carrier is also installing a ticketing kiosk at the stations in Marshall and Texarkana.

In making the case to keep the office open, the Texas Eagle Marketing and Performance Organization contends that closing it will reduce ridership and revenue.

The group also said that removing local agents means no ticketing information service will be available locally and there will be no assistance for the elderly.

“If I didn’t have George [Cantliy, the Amtrak agent in Marshall] to help me get on that train with my luggage, I’ll have problems and I ride that train about once a month,” said Gail Beil, a Marshall resident.

The Marshall Depot Board of Director was to hold a meeting at the station this week to discuss information about Amtrak’s plans.

The Board said an Amtrak agent does more than sell tickets. The agent also provide services to ensure safe boarding and de-boarding of passengers, safety on the platform, assistance to those with disabilities and/or special needs and assistance with luggage.

TEMPO is asking Marshall residents and passenger train supporters to write to their congressmen and the president of Amtrak and ask that the Marshall ticket office remain open and staffed.

For its part, Amtrak contends that few people buy tickets at the stations, electing to buy them online from Amtrak’s website.

The 15 ticket offices scheduled to close all reportedly handle 40 or fewer passengers per day.

More Ticket Office Closings Planned

May 1, 2018

Amtrak will close 15 ticket offices in the next several weeks serving seven long-distance route. The closings will begin on May 15 and extend through late June.

Spokesman Marc Magliari said the closing are a bid to reduce expenses that was “made jointly by the operating divisions and the Long Distance Service Line.”

Magliari said the carrier is still figuring out which, if any, of the affected stations will have trainside checked baggage.

He said 22 jobs are being eliminated although some of the affected agents are retiring, leaving Amtrak service or bumping another agent at another location by exercising their seniority rights.

“The different dates depend on the staffing in the area and also whether agents are moving from station to station as a result of attrition,” Magliari said.

Caretakers are being hired to open and close the waiting rooms of all affected stations before and after train arrival and departure times.

The affected stations and closing dates by route are:

Southwest Chief: Lamy, New Mexico, (July 31); La Junta, Colorado,(June 1); Topeka, Kansas, (May 20); Garden City, Kansas, (May 15); and Fort Madison, Iowa, (May 16)

Crescent: Meridian, Mississippi, (May 17) and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, (May 21)

Texas Eagle: Texarkana, Arkansas-Texas, (May 15) and Marshall, Texas,  (June 29)

Empire Builder
: Havre, Montana, (June 1); and Shelby, Montana, June 5)

Cardinal: Cincinnati (June 5) and Charleston, West Virginia, (June 6)

California Zephyr
: Ottumwa, Iowa, (May 19)

City of New Orleans
: Hammond, Louisiana, (May 15)

Amtrak management has for several years been guiding passengers to booking travel on its website and closing small town and lesser used ticket offices.

It has also offered some discounts that are only available online.

Magliari said just one in 10 reservations are booked by station agents.

“This seems to be part of Amtrak’s new cost-savings strategy under CEO Richard Anderson to cut station staffing and on-board service to the long-distance national network,” said Peter LeCody, Rail Passengers Chair and President of Texas Rail Advocates in a statement.

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.

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.”