Saturday, December 02, 2006

Amtrak revenue up 12% in 2006 fiscal year, ridership down 1.6%

The article Amtrak struggles to compete on cost on gives some Amtrak stats:

"Ticket revenues in Amtrak's busy Northeast corridor -- from Washington to Boston -- jumped 12 percent in the 2006 fiscal year to $1.37 billion. But ridership actually dropped 1.6 percent, in part because of reduced commuter discounts. The commuter discounts were decreased from 70 percent to 50 percent off the full fare, said Karina Romero, Amtrak spokeswoman."

I have been seeing stories that are reporting the same info. The conclusions are that ridership is down due to fewer 'Smart Pass' commuters; revenue up due to higher ticket prices across the board.

I haven't seen any stories that have done an analysis of the commuter 'Smart Pass' pricing and usage. I think Smart Pass cost is too high and pricing it appropriately (lower) will increase both ridership and revenue. But with revenue up would Amtrak be motivated to do such an analysis? Likely not.


  • Just so you know, Amtrak didn't want to increase prices for commuter fares. In the latest bit of congressional micromanagement of Amtrak, the railroad was prohibited from offering discounts of more than 50% off of full fare.

    I'm not certain what analysis Amtrak has or will do, but I'm pretty certain that they didn't set out to alienate commuters.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:23 PM, December 03, 2006  

  • Indeed, pricing was legislated by congress. Not a good precedent I think. Amtrak did implement 'yield management' pricing for individual tickets like the airlines; you buy earlier you pay less; you buy the day of you pay a premium. That's cool and will help maximize Amtrak revenue. But I do hope Amtrak will be able to revisit commuter ticket pricing, they did not want to alienate commuters but I think this is what's happening. As I discuss in this post Amtrak Fare Increase - My Details and Analysis for Buying the Monthly Pass Ongoing for the Philly to NYC Commute, I'd like to see commuter patterns analyzed to ensure a proper price is set.

    By Blogger Guy in NYC, at 7:14 PM, December 05, 2006  

  • "the subsidized costs of all this are just as representative of why Americans travel and drive too much! Costs need to be put back on users instead of shouldered by the top earners in the country. It's illogical to shoulder them with the costs and also illogical to increase driving and travel use by falsely lowering the price through subsidizations when we know it is a cause for increased congestion, pollution, and in the long term a direct contributor to this so called green house effect."

    This is total rubbish! If anything subsidies for rail and mass transit reduce pollution and waste by making it worthwhile to leave vehicles home. Why complain about the subsidies for rail and not the tax cost of maintaining our national highway system?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:06 PM, March 12, 2007  

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