Thursday, January 29, 2009
Amtrak ridership falls below expectations in fiscal 1Q 2009
Some points from the statement:
Revenue for the quarter was 7 percent below expectations for the government-owned corporation, which has posted six years of ridership and revenue growth.
The northeast corridor between Washington and Boston, particularly the higher-speed Acela service, led Amtrak's decline in ridership and revenue for the quarter.
Acela trains, which are popular with business travelers, carried about 806,000 passengers from October through December, about 9 percent fewer trips than a year ago and 12 percent below what Amtrak expected for the quarter."
A drop in ridership on the NEC was expected as I posted prior. I think Amtrak should be able to figure out that business travel composes a large part of the NEC traffic and since we're in a recession they should've anticipated a loss in ridership along the NEC and lowered revenue projections accordingly.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
2nd Hudson Rail Tunnel Clears Key Federal Hurdle
The tunnel proposed in the ARC project (Access to the Region's Core) would more than double the number of trains that can travel under the Hudson between New York and New Jersey to 48 per hour (at 23 now). The main ARC construction projects include a new two-track Trans-Hudson Express (THE) Tunnel and a deep, six-track terminal 175 feet below 34th Street as an annex to Penn Station. ARC would also allow more New Jersey Transit riders to reach New York without having to change trains in Newark or Secaucus. The project's six new tracks in Manhattan, which would terminate beneath 34th Street, would also allow commuters to connect underground to the subways and PATH trains at the Avenue of the Americas (6th Ave). This second tunnel would also relieve pressure on the century-old tunnel that New Jersey Transit shares with Amtrak allowing more Amtrak trains to be scheduled to enter/exit NYC, a benefit to commuters who use Amtrak.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
A five point plan to fix the nation's transportation problems
"Like many cities in Europe, we need high-speed rail networks connecting large metropolitan areas less than 500 miles apart. California voters recently approved a measure to construct a high-speed rail link that will connect San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than three hours. Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service continues to set ridership records, and while the Acela is speedy by U.S. standards, it falls far short of the fast trains in Europe and Japan."
I think Amtrak service will be expanded and improved over the next several years as part of a Federal economic stimulus package. Ironic I guess that it takes a tanking economy to get money to improve transit. Any NEC improvements will be a benefit for commuters so I am for it.
Friday, January 09, 2009
Amtrak Monthly Pass / Amtrak Commuter Pass
A monthly Amtrak Pass, or as Amtrak calls it a "Multi-Ride Ticket", can be purchased at http://tickets.amtrak.com/itd/amtrak/MultiRide/
- One Monthly Ticket, valid for unlimited travel for an entire calendar month, between Philadelphia 30th Street Station (PHL) and New York Penn Station (NYP) as of January 2009 is $1,152.00.
- One Ten-Ride Ticket, valid for ten rides within a 45-day period (same station pair/effective date as above), is $512.00.
There is no monthly or multi-ride option for the Acela. Acela tickets are full price and must be purchased for each individual leg of your trip. Neither of the above ticket types can be used on the Acela, and they'll kick you off if you try and claim ignorance. The Acela is the Amtrak money maker and the conductors enforce that you have a valid Acela ticket.
So the monthly and 10 trip is what Amtrak offers for regular riders. There is no "commuter pass" or any other viable low cost option for regular Amtrak riders. Amtrak seems to discourage commuters with its pricing in my opinion, but that's the way it is and since Amtrak had record revenue and ridership in 2008 I don't think this will change in the near term.
I get this question often and wanted to post this information as it is kind of buried on the http://www.Amtrak.com site.