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Posted at 10:27 AM ET, 02/10/2011

Amtrak ridership increases steadily

By Luke Rosiak

Amtrak ridership has risen for 15 months in a row, and last month marked its best January ever with 2.1 million passengers. In seven of the last eight years, it has set yearly records, and carried 28.7 million riders in fiscal year 2010.

The fast-traveling Acela Express showed a ridership increase of 9.2 percent in October through January compared to a year prior.

Officials attributed it to an improving economy, high gas prices, increased popularity of rail, and the addition of Wi-Fi internet to the Acela.

"The steady rise in ridership demonstrates a growing demand and the ongoing need for a national intercity passenger rail system," Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman said in a statement. "With oil approaching $100 a barrel, we expect to continue to post strong ridership numbers as more and more people choose Amtrak to meet their transportation needs."

Vice President Joe Biden joined Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in Philadelphia this week to tout a proposed $53 billion for high-speed and intercity rail service over the next six years.

But yesterday, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers listed 70 spending cuts totaling $74 billion that Republicans intend to include in an upcoming funding bill. Among the largest on the chopping block is $1 billion for high-speed rail.

By Luke Rosiak  | February 10, 2011; 10:27 AM ET
Categories:  Commuter Rail, Transportation Politics  
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They need to cut the long distance trains (ex. Crescent/Cardinal) and add another Lynchburg Train (actually making money)

Focus on the NEC, Chicago Hub, and California.

Anything else should be sponsored by the state.

Posted by: marchar123 | February 10, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Left out of the possible reasons for increased ridership is the frustration dealing with airlines and airports. I have paid more, no question about it, to ride Amtrak, but I do not have the residual unpleasantness after having made a reservation and flown in an airplane. Life is so much better on a train. Now, I do get a private room. I've ridden in coach, and that is a different experience. People on their cel phones, lots of antsiness and commotion and DVD players. If somehow that could be improved, riding coach would be the real way to go.

But when it's good, Amtrak is great.

Posted by: sugarstreet | February 11, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I ride the Cresent. DO NOT CUT THAT!!! Lots of people ride it.

Posted by: sugarstreet | February 11, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

This is a clear example of why we need to build more roads.

Posted by: cassidymullen | February 11, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The states of LA, AL, MS, SC, and GA should sponsor the Crescent Train, not the federal government.

Posted by: marchar123 | February 11, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

You left off Va. and NC. And a few others.

I don't agree. That would never happen, Alabama at least is quite backward when it comes to transit, not on the forefront at all. Amtrak is all we have left and it needs to be preserved. No public transportation system is self sustaining. They all everywhere rely on subsidies, as do roads.

Posted by: sugarstreet | February 11, 2011 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Amtrak did a study on the Cardinal and found it would actually be more cost efficient to run it every day instead of the current three times a week. A Boy Scout camp will soon bring thousands of tourists to southern W.Va. and the train will make for less congestion on hilly local roads.

Posted by: BonniMcKeown | February 13, 2011 12:22 AM | Report abuse

@ sugarstreet

VA (Lynchburg) and NC (Carolinian)already sponsor trains to Washington/NYC (Lynchburg) and NEC states do not need the Cresent.

WV should sponsor the Cardinal Train not the federal government.

Trains should at least cover there operating costs or states should sponsor.

The federal government should only help with captial costs. (similar to roads and airports)

Posted by: marchar123 | February 13, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

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