OLYMPIA, Wash. — Ridership on Amtrak Cascades continued to grow substantially in 2008 carrying a total of 774,421 passengers. This represents a 14.4 percent increase over 2007 and the highest annual ridership since the inception of Amtrak Cascades service 10 years ago.
“While we suspect high gas prices last summer helped entice people to try Amtrak Cascades, we think the excellent service and convenience for travelers will continue to stimulate even more growth in Amtrak Cascades ridership,” said Paula Hammond, Washington Transportation Secretary. “Amtrak Cascades is a great investment for Washington and provides motorists with yet another travel option.”
Compared to 2007, Amtrak Cascades ridership achieved double-digit growth on average each month this year. Volatile gasoline prices and the summer travel season have fueled strong demand. In July alone, ridership hit an all-time record of nearly 80,000 passengers — a 12.4 percent increase over 2007. On comment cards, customers noted the great value in saving money and avoiding traffic.
Other significant milestones achieved in 2008 include improved on-time performance, revenue growth, and the addition of connecting bus service in north Puget Sound communities.
Additionally, Amtrak and WSDOT have partnered to perform a major interior renovation on all coach and business class cars used on Amtrak Cascades. The $10 million project began summer 2007 and the first phase was completed in January.
Amtrak Cascades consists of four daily round-trips between Portland and Seattle, with service between Bellingham and Portland, via Seattle; between Eugene and Seattle, via Portland; and between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. Amtrak Cascades is operated by Amtrak in partnership with the Washington and Oregon Departments of Transportation.