Amtrak ridership dips slightly to 30.8M

Amtrak ridership dips slightly to 30.8M

Amtrak ridership dipped slightly in 2015 as delays backed up service on its popular Northeast Corridor route, according to figures released recently by the company. 

Amtrak said Monday that it carried 30.8 million in the fiscal year that ended in September, which the company said was a decrease of 100,000 over the same period for 2014, when 30.9 million riders rode the rails.  

Amtrak attributed the slight ridership decline to problems with tracks and rail tunnels in the heavily-populated Northeast U.S., where rail is more popular than it typically is in other parts of the country. 

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Amtrak Board of Directors Chairman Tony Coscia said the fact that ridership only declined slightly shows the durability of the company's passenger base. 

“We continue to make smart investments and advancements to critical infrastructure and significant improvements to the passenger experience so that the company can continue providing mobility to more passengers and make the best use of our limited resources," Coscia said in a statement. 

“This year’s financial results show the resiliency of a company that faced a range of challenges and underscored the loyalty of our customers even during a period of low gas prices," he continued. "Amtrak’s Board and management remain committed to moving the company forward and providing vital transportation for the country’s future.”

“This past year we continued to take America to where it needs to go, providing transportation to more than 30.8 million customers, which reflects continued strong demand and the value of our services,” added Amtrak President Joe Boardman, who announced recently that he is retiring next year. 

“We have now carried more than 30 million passengers for five straight years, which is a testament to the value we bring to intercity travelers," Boardman continued. "However, critical investment is needed to ensure future growth of intercity passenger rail.” 

Amtrak said 11.7 million of its 2015 riders were passengers on trains in the Northeast, which the company said is a 0.5 percent increase from 2014. The rest of the company's ridership was divided between state-supported routes, where service is paid for mostly by state and local governments, and long-distance routes, which are heavily subsidized by Congress.