FRA Issues New Rule to Establish Metrics to Measure Amtrak Intercity Trains’ Performance

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has published a new rule establishing metrics and a minimum standard to measure Amtrak intercity passenger trains’ performance and service quality.

The rule includes metrics relating to on-time performance and train delays, customer service, financial, and public benefits.

The final rule requires Amtrak and its host railroads to certify Amtrak schedules and sets an on-time performance minimum standard of 80 percent for any two consecutive calendar quarters. Other metrics include ridership, train delays, station performance and host running time.

“This final rule is a major accomplishment for this Administration and a huge victory for the traveling public,” FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory said in a news release. “When I personally met with the leaders of Amtrak and the nation’s largest freight railroads earlier this year, I impressed upon them the need for the traveling public to have reliable passenger rail service, and the Administration’s final rule reflects a commitment to improving Amtrak’s performance in the modern-day freight rail environment.”

The final rule’s singular on-time performance standard gives customers, Amtrak, the host railroads and other stakeholders a method to gauge Amtrak trains, officials said.

“Everyone relying on one standard means that when problems arise, we can all speak the same languageto work toward a common goal,” Batory said.

In a statement, Amtrak said the new rule” is a victory for Amtrak customers and for anyone who believes people and communities across the country deserve a world-class passenger rail network with schedules that you can count on.”

“For too long, many freight railroads have put their cargo ahead of our passengers – in direct opposition to the law,” Amtrak said.

“Amtrak believes our customers deserve to arrive on time,” Amtrak said in a statement. “A dozen years ago Congress agreed and passed a law calling for a minimum standard for on-time performance and allowing for railroads to be investigated – and possibly fined – if freight trains are prioritized ahead of passengers. This landmark rule establishes a minimum standard that 80% of Amtrak customers on a given train should arrive at their destination within fifteen minutes of their scheduled arrival.”