Amtrak carried nearly 30.2 million passengers in Fiscal Year 2011, marking the highest ridership total since the National Railroad Passenger Corporation started operations in 1971 and the eighth ridership record during the last nine years, the company announced in a news release on Thursday.
Ridership versus the prior year is up by more than five percent – and ticket revenue is up by more than eight percent -- despite significant weather related disruptions in the Northeast, Central and Western U.S.
“Thirty million passengers is not just a statistic. That number is made up of real people who live real lives and use Amtrak for personal, business and recreational travel,” said Emmett Fremaux, the head of the Amtrak Marketing and Product Development Department, who presented Ms. Lathan with an oversized Amtrak ticket and two 30-day rail passes.
“We thank all our passengers for choosing Amtrak and our state partners for working with us to develop the kind of service that attracts ever increasing numbers of riders,” said Amtrak President & CEO Joseph H. Boardman. “Amtrak is fulfilling its national mission and is part of the solution to meet America’s growing transportation and energy needs.”
Amtrak friends on Facebook have been entered to win two round-trip Amtrak tickets to any of the more than 500 destinations in 46 states and three Canadian provinces that Amtrak serves. The “Sweeps for our Peeps” promotion continues through this Saturday, October 15.
Carper, Boardman and Fremaux also thanked the railroad’s nearly 20,000 employees for their work to set another record for ridership and revenue. With the exception of 2009 (12 months ending September 30, 2009), Amtrak has set records for every fiscal year since 2002.
“This is an accomplishment of many hardworking and dedicated people doing what it takes to run a railroad,” said Fremaux. “It is a long list and includes Amtrak employees such as locomotive engineers, conductors and other onboard train crew, station staff, mechanics, track workers, K-9 security teams, and numerous other behind-the-scenes employees who work at Amtrak and at our local, state and federal partners.”
Factors contributing to the continuing success of Amtrak include high gasoline prices, continued growth in business travel on the high-speed Acela Express trains with free Wi-Fi service – with more AmtrakConnectsm deployments coming soon on other services across the country -- the increased appeal and popularity of rail travel and effective marketing campaigns.