Thursday, August 23, 2007

"Crowds Heed Amtrak's 'All Aboard'"

A Wall Street Journal article talks about Amtrak and the ridership increase it is experiencing.

Some quotes:

"Ridership on the passenger rail system is up 6% so far this year, the biggest jump since the late 1970s. On the Acela Express, trains that run at higher speeds between Washington, New York and Boston, the number of riders has surged 20% over the past 10 months."

"... some big names in the airline industry are supporting Amtrak by calling for the U.S. to do what governments in Europe and Asia have long done -- building high-speed train lines for short-distance travelers and freeing up runway space for long-distance flights."

"Another airline-industry legend Robert Crandall, former CEO of American Airlines parent AMR Corp., says improvements to Amtrak's network in the Northeast are one of the best ways to reduce aviation gridlock"

Any improvement to the NEC tracks will be better for Amtrak commuters. Better tracks, more and newer trains will make for faster travel times and fewer delays.

Pushing for NEC upgrades to ease airline congestion in the Northeast is a good way for Amtrak to secure existing and gain new funding from the government. And it makes sense too I think, it's an efficient way for the government to spend money to improve travel along the East coast from DC to Boston. Have you flown recently? Who wants to do that, it's a nightmare.

Hopefully Amtrak will keep ticket prices flat. Commuting via Amtrak between Philadelphia and New York City is still the way to go but the cost is still staggering. If prices remain flat but travel times improve, that's at least a positive trade off.

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