Carper, Coons, Carney congratulate Amtrak on new ridership record

With over 750,000 riders in fiscal year 2012, Delaware sees increase of 24,000 since last year

Wilmington, Del. – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and U.S. Representative John Carney (all D-Del.) congratulated Amtrak on Thursday on its announcement that ridership in Delaware hit a new record of 752,528 riders in fiscal year 2012. This fiscal year, which ended on September 30th, marked the highest annual ridership total since operations started in 1971 and the ninth ridership record during the last 10 years.  In fiscal year 2011, Delaware saw 728,413 riders.

“These ridership numbers are proof that Amtrak’s continued improvements in service in Delaware and around the country are being recognized by riders,” said Sen. Carper. “Rail service helps to reduce our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, improves our air quality and eases traffic congestion. I am confident that even more people will rely on Amtrak as a high quality transportation option in years to come.”

“Amtrak not only provides fast, reliable transportation, it is an integral part of our state’s economy, creating hundreds of jobs and supporting our business community,” Senator Coons said. “Amtrak’s success can be attributed to their ability to adapt to new technology and customer demands by making it easier to purchase tickets online and stay connected to the Internet with free Wi-Fi. I congratulate Amtrak on its record breaking year and look forward to continuing to ride the train nearly every day.” 

“Amtrak’s latest ridership figures clearly show that more people consider rail a convenient and efficient transportation option,” said Congressman Carney.  “Increased ridership means less congestion on our roads and fewer toxins that are released into the environment.  As a frequent rider, I’m very pleased to see Amtrak’s ridership once again increase, and I will continue working to make investments in rail and other infrastructure projects that create jobs and grow the economy.”

Amtrak ridership increased nationwide by 3.5 percent in FY 2012 to a new record of 31,240,565 passengers and ticket revenue jumped 6.8 percent to a best ever $2.02 billion. The Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston had a 4.8 percent increase in ridership to its best year ever with more than 11.4 million passengers.  Specifically, ridership on the Northeast Regional service is up 6.6 percent to a new record of more than 8.0 million and the high-speed Acela Express is up 0.5 percent to its second-best year ever to nearly 3.4 million.

“People are riding Amtrak trains in record numbers across the country because there is an undeniable demand to travel by rail,” President and CEO Joe Boardman said. “Ridership will continue to grow because of key investments made by Amtrak and our federal and state partners to improve on-time performance, reliability, capacity and train speeds.”

Factors contributing to Amtrak long-term ridership growth include improved passenger services such as Wi-Fi and eTicketing, high gasoline prices, continued growth in business travel on the Northeast Corridor, the increased appeal and popularity of rail travel, dissatisfaction with congested highways and air travel, and effective marketing campaigns.

Amtrak has a significant impact on Delaware’s economy. Amtrak placed orders valued at more than $9,354,000 for goods and services in Delaware in FY2011. At the end of FY2011, Amtrak employed more than 1,100 Delaware residents.