WASHINGTON — Amtrak has announced the re-launch of its Northeast Corridor Regional service, renaming it Northeast Regional. Traveling between Boston, New York, Washington, Richmond and Newport News, Va., the service, Amtrak’s busiest, transported more than 6.8 million passengers last fiscal year.
Anticipating a busy summer travel season and the impact of an integrated marketing campaign, Amtrak expects the re-branding of the Northeast Regional and its associated service improvements to attract an additional 136,000 passengers to the service, valued at $8.9 million in ticket revenue annually. So far this fiscal year (October 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008), Amtrak’s Regional service has seen ridership grow to 5.6 million passengers, an increase of 11 percent over the same period last year.
The new Northeast Regional service will feature a number of enhancements for passengers. Top among those are 36 refurbished, all-table Café cars with new seat cushions and interior decor. The upgraded Café cars will be positioned in the middle of each train to improve access for coach passengers who account for more than 90 percent of riders.
Northeast Regional Cafés will also offer a new menu, featuring fresh sandwiches and salads, and introducing a number of popular Northeast brands. Additional service improvements include refurbished Business class seats and interiors, as well as increased en-route cleaning to help keep the trains clean and fresh.
“The goal of the Northeast Regional service is to increase the ease of travel on the Northeast Corridor and to provide our passengers with a more comfortable and enjoyable travel experience,” said Emmett Fremaux, Amtrak’s Vice President, Marketing & Product Management. “As our ridership continues to grow, improving customer service to passengers on our most popular trains is a top priority.”
To support the re-branding of the Northeast Regional, Amtrak has launched an advertising campaign in states along the Northeast Corridor from Virginia to Massachusetts. The goal of the campaign, scheduled to run July 13th through September 7th, is to inspire customers who may not be regular Northeast Corridor passengers to try the new Northeast Regional service themselves.
The integrated media plan for the new Northeast Regional re-launch includes newspapers and business journals, radio ads, outdoor gas station and bus placements, and online display ads and search. Messaging focuses on the key elements that draw customers to the convenience and comfort of rail travel – mostly notably, freedom from traffic congestion, city to city-center trip time, and more recently, higher gas prices.
Coach fares on Amtrak’s Northeast Regional service start as low as $62 for travel between Boston and New York, $72 between New York and Washington, and $29 between Washington and Richmond. Additional charges to upgrade to Business class range from $12 to $45 depending upon travel time and city pairs.