Amtrak is on pace to set another new annual ridership record as passenger counts across its national network for the first six months of fiscal year 2012 (October 2011 - March 2012) are up 3.7 percent over the same period last year when the current record was established.
A closer look at the numbers show all Amtrak business lines experienced growth in the first half of FY 2012, as compared to the same period the prior year, including the Northeast Corridor (up 5.2 percent), long-distance trains (up 3.0 percent) and state-supported and other short-distance routes (up 2.7 percent.) This ridership growth continues a long-term trend that has led to eight records in the past nine years, including 30.2 million passengers in FY 2011.
“Amtrak achieving ridership records is important, but it is more critical that the right infrastructure be in place to continue this trend in the years to come and to provide safe, efficient and reliable rail transportation for all current and future passengers,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “To do this in the Northeast, we must advance our proposed Gateway Program, as it is essential for the future growth and economic development of the entire region.”
Boardman explained the Northeast Corridor in particular has seen strong ridership growth in recent years and demand for passenger rail service on this line is expected to significantly increase as population grows, highway and airport congestion worsen and gas prices rise throughout the region. He added that Amtrak is preparing to meet these challenges by beginning work on a comprehensive, long-term plan to improve the NEC and expand high-speed rail service, including through its Gateway Program to build increased tunnel, track and station capacity into the heart of New York City for intercity and commuter trains.