Saturday, August 09, 2008

How Many People Commute from Philadelphia to New York via Amtrak Regularly?

This is tough number to find. Amtrak does not seem to make this information available though they know precisely how many Philly-NYC monthly or 10 trip passes are sold. So I can only offer the following evidence:

An article in the NY Sun from April 20, 2007 "New Amtrak Service Could Boost ‘the Sixth Borough'" by Annie Karni states:
"About 1.5 million passengers a year use Amtrak to commute between New York and Philadelphia on a regular basis" (what does 'regularly' mean though, 3+ times a week?)

Tom Acitelli of the New York Observer in a February 13, 2008 "Imagine Cheaper New York-Philly Amtrak Service" states:
"Amtrak measures its ridership by fiscal years that run from October to October. In fiscal year 2004 (October 2003-October 2004), 375,100 riders total made daily round-trips between the two cities. That was more than in the three previous fiscal years. But, then, in fiscal year 2005, daily ridership peaked at over 377,000. It's dropped ever since, with fiscal year 2007, claiming an estimated annual total of 220,800 Philadelphia-to-New York daily commuters. (Note: These are not daily averages, but annual totals.)"

I posted on this blog prior that about 2,000 Northeast Corridor riders use monthly passes, most of them commuting between Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, according to Amtrak.
I got this from a Larry King article on The Philadelphia Inquirer "Amtrak Revives Plan for Fare Increases" Wednesday, 28 September 2005.

My guess is the number of regular commuters using Amtrak is rapidly going down. It has to be, at $1,152.00 now for a monthly pass (vs. ~$600 in 2005) who can afford this? Only people making pretty good money can swing this cost, this is not a price point that an average business person can absorb.


  • Thank you for these stats.

    For better or worse, the backdrop against which these figures needs to be viewed is the fact that a lot of capacity has been removed from the corridor in the last 10-15 years, which was done to get higher load factors. As the value of each seat increases, the opportunity cost to Amtrak of having a seat filled by a commuter has risen, leading to increased prices which - I suspect - are designed to get the commuters off of the train. Supply and demand plays a role even when the supplier is government owned.

    By Blogger Ran Barton, at 10:39 PM, August 20, 2008  

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