WASHINGTON — Amtrak passenger ticket revenue increased in Fiscal Year 2006 to $1.37 billion, the highest annual ticket revenue ever achieved, and, at $132 million over last year, the railroad’s largest year-over-year increase.
The railroad also served 24.3 million passengers — nearly 300,000 more than for the same trains in the previous fiscal year.
Total ticket revenue for the period October 2005 through September 2006 was an 11 percent increase over the $1.23 billion in FY05. Ridership increased from 24 million to 24.3 million — a one percent increase over the previous 12 months.
“These numbers are indicative of the increased demand for intercity passenger rail service throughout the country,” said Barbara Richardson, vice president, marketing and sales. “In recognition of that demand, states are stepping up their investment in passenger rail, including Illinois and Pennsylvania, which will benefit from more Amtrak service this year.” Richardson added, “Amtrak is increasingly considered as a transportation solution, particularly in regional corridors.”
The totals do not include the New York-New Jersey Clocker service that Amtrak fully transferred to New Jersey Transit in FY06. Amtrak ran the service under contract for the commuter agency, and it accounted for 1.6 million passengers and $15.5 million in FY05.
Revenue growth was the greatest in the Northeast. Acela Express is building back popularity after last year’s service outage and the Regional trains experienced growth, especially as gas prices rose this summer.
Revenue for the entire Northeast Corridor reached $725.4 million, a 12 percent increase over last year’s ticket revenue, and six percent over budget. Ridership in the corridor experienced a slight dip of 1.6 percent as some ridership dropped in part because Amtrak reduced deep commuter discounts offered the year before.
Acela service saw an increase in on-time performance (OTP), frequently surpassing its goal of 90 percent. At year-end, the Acela OTP was 84.6 percent, up more than eight percent over last year.
Amtrak’s state-supported and short distance services outside of the Northeast Corridor saw significant ridership growth, reaching 11 million, a 4.5 percent increase over FY05 and a five percent increase over budget. Ticket revenue for these services reached $287.8 million, an 11.9 percent increase over the same period last year and 7.6 percent over budget.
The Keystone Service, which operates between Harrisburg and Philadelphia, had a 12.7 percent increase in ridership, reaching 823,097 in FY06. Ticket revenue increased 15.4 percent over last year. The Downeaster, which operates several times daily between Portland, ME and Boston, Mass. had the largest increase in ridership system-wide, serving 23 percent more passengers between October 2005 and September 2006 than during the previous 12 months. The Downeaster also brought in $4.6 million, a 27.2 percent increase in ticket revenue.
The Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha Service had another strong year, surpassing last year’s record ridership by more than 10 percent. The train, supported by the states of Wisconsin and Illinois, carried 580,333 passengers and ticket revenue increased to $6 million, a 14 percent increase over FY05. All three routes in Michigan showed significant increases in ticket revenue, including the Chicago-Detroit/Pontiac Wolverine (up 22 percent), the state-supported Chicago-East Lansing/Port Huron Blue Water (up 22 percent) and the Chicago-Grand Rapids Pere Marquette (up 20 percent).
California’s Pacific Surfliner, which operates between San Diego and San Luis Obispo, carried more than 2.6 million passengers in FY06, a 5 percent increase over the same period last year. Ticket revenue topped $43 million, a 16 increase over the previous 12 months. The San Joaquin trains showed a 15 percent increase in ticket revenue, reaching more than $24.5 million. Ticket revenue for the Washington and Oregon state-supported Cascades service was up nine percent to $16.5 million.
After the first full year of enhanced service aboard the Empire Builder, which operates between Chicago and Seattle/Portland, both ridership and revenue increased. During the months between October 2005 and September 2006, ticket revenue increased by 16 percent between, reaching $48.6 million. Ridership increased by 4.3 percent to 497,020.
Despite some on-time performance challenges, Long Distance train ridership dipped by only one percent compared to last year and several trains saw an increase in ridership, including the Silver Star, which operates between New York and Miami; the New York – Savannah, Ga. Palmetto; and the New York – Chicago Lake Shore Limited.
— Special to Railfanning.org News Wire