Amtrak reports it carried more than 31.2 million passengers in Fiscal Year 2012 ending September 30, marking the highest annual ridership total since it started operations in 1971. Amtrak says this is the ninth ridership record during the last ten years.
A year-over-year comparison of FY 2012 to FY 2011 shows ridership grew 3.5 percent to a new record of 31,240,565 passengers and ticket revenue jumped 6.8 percent to a best ever $2.02 billion. In addition, Amtrak system-wide on-time performance increased to 83 percent, up from 78.1 percent and its highest level in 12 years.
"People are riding Amtrak trains in record numbers across the country because there is an undeniable demand to travel by rail," said President and CEO Joe Boardman. "Ridership will continue to grow because of key investments made by Amtrak and our federal and state partners to improve on-time performance, reliability, capacity and train speeds."
During FY 2012, ridership on the Northeast Corridor is up 4.8 percent to a record 11.4 million, state-supported and other short distance routes is up 2.1 percent to a record 15.1 million and long-distance services is up 4.7 percent to their best showing in 19 years at 4.7 million.
FY 2012 also produced other ridership achievements including new records for 25 of 44 Amtrak services, and 12 consecutive monthly records with July being the single best month in the history of Amtrak. Since FY 2000, Amtrak ridership is up 49 percent.
Amtrak FY 2012 Ridership Facts:
25 of 44 Amtrak services set new ridership records
Amtrak set 12 consecutive monthly ridership records; July was the single best month in the history of Amtrak
Northeast Corridor had best year ever with more than 11.4 million passengers
State-supported and other short distance routes had best year ever with 15.1 million passengers
All 15 long-distance routes saw an increase in riders and combined had best ridership in 19 years with 4.7 million passengers
From FY 2000 to FY 2012, Amtrak ridership is up 49 percent
Boardman noted ridership numbers for FY 2013 will get a boost this fall when the extension of Downeaster service to Freeport and Brunswick, Maine begins Nov. 1, and Amtrak Virginia Northeast Regional service is extended to Norfolk, Va., starting Dec.12.
Amtrak said factors contributing to its long-term ridership growth include improved passenger services such as Wi-Fi and eTicketing, high gasoline prices, continued growth in business travel on the Northeast Corridor, the increased appeal and popularity of rail travel, dissatisfaction with congested highways and air travel and effective marketing campaigns.