The AP story states that "Amtrak said its ridership dropped by more than 1 million passengers during the past year, but was still the second-highest year in the railroad's history
. Figures released by the nation's intercity rail operator show Amtrak carried 27.2 million passengers during the 12 months ending Sept. 30. Amtrak's record was 28.7 million passengers during the previous year, a period coinciding with record high gas prices. Still, ridership was up over two years ago by 5.1 percent."
An Amtrak ridership drop for fiscal year 2009 was expected but this is a smaller drop than I anticipated. I think this shows rail travel is critical and even in a recession is still widely used and needed. I expect growth in Amtrak's riderships numbers to return quickly and for the high of 2008 to be passed as early as 2011. I believe it is a very good thing that the US government is spending stimulus money for rail improvement. Once ridership starts to pick up the system will be ready to handle the increased capacity due to the improvements.