Rising gas prices drive travelers to Amtrak

March 10, 2011

WASHINGTON — Amtrak reported March 9 that it has marked 16 consecutive months of ridership growth, and that February was the best on record, with 2.1 million passengers.

“The ridership increase shows the continued popularity of rail travel and the need for continued investment in passenger rail service,” said Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman. “We anticipate demand for rail travel will increase with the rise of gasoline prices, and Amtrak is prepared to be there for passengers who want to leave the car behind.”

Amtrak’s strong performance, said Boardman, is part of a long-term trend that has seen Amtrak set annual ridership records in seven of the past eight fiscal years, including more than 28.7 million passengers in 2010.

There was a 7.6 percent increase in riders in February 2011 vs. February 2010, or more than 147,000 passengers. The 16 straight months of ridership growth spans from November 2009 to February 2011, and averages a 6 percent growth rate over this period, Amtrak said.