Amtrak's November To Remember
Amtrak's November To Remember
Dec 12 2003, 05:20 PM
Group: Sr. Admin
Joined: 30-June 03
From: Queens, NY
Member No.: 4
Amtrak ended the busiest November in its 32-year history with a ridership total of 2,076,054, up 11.7 percent over last year’s total of 1,858,345.
All 16 long-distance trains posted double-digit gains and, collectively, posted a 32 percent surge in ridership. The most impressive gains were realized on the Capitol Limited (Chicago – Pittsburgh – Washington), up 54 percent; the Sunset Limited (Orlando – New Orleans – San Antonio – Los Angeles), up 50 percent; and the Cardinal (Chicago – Indianapolis – New York), up 51 percent due to a route extension from Washington to New York City. Regional trains in the Northeast, which account more than 25 percent of Amtrak ridership, posted a 15 percent gain over last November.
During the seven-day Thanksgiving travel period (Tuesday, Nov. 25 – Monday, Dec. 1), approximately 595,000 passengers stepped aboard Amtrak trains, making it the busiest week in Amtrak history. Thanksgiving ridership was up nine percent over last year and up five percent over the previous Thanksgiving record set in 2000 when ridership was 566,759.
The increases were attributed to an improving travel market and to Amtrak's "back-to-basics" approach to running the railroad. Among the recent initiatives under the back-to-basics approach are a new advertising campaign coupled with fare rollbacks, incentives for online booking, and a commitment to upgrading equipment and infrastructure to improve reliability.
As it has in past years, Amtrak took extraordinary steps to meet the increased travel demand around Thanksgiving: A total of 60,000 seats and 77 trains were added nationwide. In the Northeast, Amtrak operated on a special Thanksgiving schedule that provided more frequent service and required reservations to ensure that virtually every passenger had a comfortable seat. On the West Coast, Amtrak added eight trains to Cascades service between Portland and Seattle and went to “all-reserved” status to minimize standing-room conditions on the Pacific Surfliners between San Diego and Los Angeles.
Amtrak prepares for busy December
While Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest travel period for Amtrak, there are some busy days ahead in December. As a result, Amtrak is reminding passengers to make reservations as early as possible. Passengers are encouraged to “take the fastest route to a ticket” by booking their travel online at www.amtrak.com, then picking up their ticket at an automated Quik-Trak kiosk at the station (where available). This process enables passengers to bypass any long station ticket lines during the holiday season.
As is the case year-round, passengers must present a valid, government-issued photo ID whenever purchasing tickets from an Amtrak agent or checking baggage. Carry-on items are limited to two pieces, not including purses, briefcases, laptops or other personal items.
The full press release, along with a table showing the ridership on each line, can be found here.
Take care and take trains!
Dec 12 2003, 11:58 PM
Joined: 2-July 03
From: Cherry Hill, NJ
Member No.: 11
Amtrak is having a very good year from a ridership perspective. As of October, year to date revenue passenger miles (RPM) are up about 6% as compared to the same period last year, and the 12-month total RPM is up about 3%. This compares favorably with air where the YTD RPM through October is essentially flat compared to 2002, and the 12-month total is up about 1.5%.
Having said that, and giving all credit where credit is due, there is a quirk about the November figures that is worth mentioning. Last year, the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend fell on December 1. So, November 2002 lacked the ridership of one of the two heaviest travel days of the year. This year, as is the case for 6 out of 7 years, the Sunday travel day was back in November. So, the big increase in passenger count in November 2003 as compared to November 2002 may not be as meaningful as it appears on the surface. Last year’s November ridership was unusually low (off 15.7% from 2001) in large part because of the calendar. This year’s big gain is also in part because of the calendar.
I expect overall Amtrak RPM to come in at about 5.7 billion this year. That would be a jump of about 8% as compared to last year’s 5.3 billion. A very good performance, but still short of the all-time Amtrak mark of 6.3 billion set back in 1991.
This post has been edited by BillMagee: Dec 13 2003, 09:28 AM
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