Amtrak Michigan Ridership Up Strongly

LANSING, Mich. – Amtrak ridership in Fiscal Year 2007 on trains in Michigan increased by more than 17,000 passengers, totaling nearly 682,000 riders on the three routes in the Great Lakes State. In all, Amtrak sold more than 750,000 tickets to and from locations in Michigan.

Amtrak operates three daily roundtrips on the Pontiac-Detroit-Ann Arbor-Chicago route known as the Wolverine Service. The 2.4 percent ridership gain on the Wolverines matches the national Amtrak ridership increase and is the result of more than 449,000 passengers choosing rails instead of roads.

The state-supported single-frequency daily routes in Michigan — Grand Rapids-St. Joseph-Chicago Pere Marquette and the Port Huron-East Lansing-Chicago Blue Water — also posted increases. Ridership on the Pere Marquette was up 2.8 percent to nearly 105,000 passengers and on the Blue Water passenger count of almost 128,000 was a 3.1 percent gain. Amtrak operates the Pere Marquette and the Blue Water under a contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

“We are excited about increased interest in passenger rail travel,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “Michigan reflects the national trend. Our ridership numbers have increased for the last five years, showing strong support for all three Amtrak routes in Michigan.”

“Highway and airway congestion, volatile fuel prices, increasing environmental awareness, and a need for transportation links between growing communities, are some of the factors that make intercity passenger rail extremely relevant in today’s world,” said Alex Kummant, President and CEO of Amtrak.

“Our record setting ridership and ticket revenue in FY07 indicate the stage is set for Amtrak to take on a role as not only a contributor to the nation’s transportation network, but as a leader among modes,” he added.

Nationally, Amtrak ridership in Fiscal Year 2007 increased to 25,847,531, marking the fifth straight year of gains and setting a record for the most passengers using Amtrak trains since the National Railroad Passenger Corporation started operations in 1971.

This total, for the period October 1, 2006 – September 30, 2007, topped the 24,306,965 for the previous 12 months and is greater than the passenger count of 25.03 million reached in 2004.

Total ticket revenue for the fiscal year, $1.5 billion, was an 11 percent increase over the $1.37 billion in FY06.