More people riding the rails

ATLANTA – Amtrak in 2009 saw its second-highest ridership since its inception 38 years ago, the railroad announced.

During Fiscal Year 2009, which ended Sept. 30, nearly 27.2 million people rode Amtrak. Fiscal Year 2008 still remains a record for the railroad, with 28.7 million riding the rails, however, 2009’s numbers represented a ridership increase of 5.1 percent over 2007.

“In a difficult year for the economy – particularly in the travel industry – Amtrak ridership has remained strong albeit with some regional variation,” Amtrak President and CEO Joseph H. Boardman said in a news release. “In particular, reduced business travel along the Northeast Corridor prevented us from reaching the ridership we achieved last year.”

Total ticket revenue for the Fiscal Year 2009 reached $1.6 billion.

While ridership may not have increased in 2009, on-time performance did – from 71 percent in 2008 to 80 percent in 2009, the railroad said.

In the news release, Boardman said 2009’s figures were consistent with the railroad’s annual growth it has experienced since 2002. At the same time, he noted, the railroad is rehabilitating rolling stock so it can increase passenger capacity.