|(c) 2011 Wikipedia.org|
Amtrak is projecting that for the first time ever its annual ridership will exceed 30 million passengers and in the process set a new all-time record when the current fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
“We are having a very strong year because people around the country are choosing the convenience, efficiency and hassle-free environment of Amtrak to meet their travel needs,” said President and CEO Joe Boardman. “Amtrak has wisely invested the federal funding we have received to improve infrastructure and equipment. Continued investment in Amtrak and passenger rail will support the further growth of this increasingly vital transportation option."
Amtrak is basing its projection of more than 30 million passengers on strong June ridership numbers and expected ticket sales for July, August and September. June 2011 was the best June on record with more than 2.6 million passengers for the month and marked 20 consecutive months of year-over-year ridership growth, a streak that began in November 2009.
This strong performance, Amtrak said, is part of a long-term trend that has seen Amtrak set annual ridership records in seven of the last eight fiscal years, including more than 28.7 million passengers in FY 2010.
Comparing the first nine months of FY 2011 (October – June) to the same time period in FY 2010, national Amtrak ridership is up 6.4 percent so far this fiscal year and all three major business lines are showing gains: the Northeast Corridor up 5.6 percent, state-supported and other short distance corridors up 7.8 percent, and long-distance trains up 3.9 percent.
Factors contributing to the continuing success of Amtrak include high gasoline prices, continued growth in business travel on the high-speed Acela Express trains with free Wi-Fi service, the increased appeal and popularity of rail travel and effective marketing campaigns.
Celebrating 40 years of dedicated service as America’s Railroad, Amtrak is the nation’s intercity passenger rail provider and its only high-speed rail operator. A record 28.7 million passengers traveled on Amtrak in FY 2010 on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces.