Amtrak is enjoying the ride. For the 15th straight month, the federal-government-owned train corporation reported an increase in ridership last month and the best January on record this year. With 2,126,429 passengers on record this January, Amtrak continues its recent surge of having set annual ridership records in seven of the last eight fiscal years (FY), including more than 28.7 million passengers in FY 2010.
Compared to January of last year, the company recorded a 4.6 percent increase in riders, or almost 94,000 more passengers. Over the last 15 months, extending from November 2009 to January 2011, Amtrak reported an average of a six percent growth rate. Amtrak credits its rise in riders to the improvement of the economy, which has in turn improved business travel along the Northeast Corridor, in addition to sustained high gasoline prices, the increased appeal and popularity of rail travel, effective marketing campaigns, and the introduction of Wi-Fi on the high-speed Acela Express trains.
"The steady rise in ridership demonstrates a growing demand and the ongoing need for a national intercity passenger rail system," said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. "With oil approaching $100 a barrel, we expect to continue to post strong ridership numbers as more and more people choose Amtrak to meet their transportation needs."