Amtrak is boosting train service for busy summer travel season

 Tuesday, May 10, 2022 

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The United States passenger railroad giant Amtrak said that the company is boosting train service ahead of an expected busy summer travel season and as rail demand returns, with high gasoline prices encouraging more people to take trains.

Amtrak said it planned to operate about 80% of pre-pandemic level Northeast Regional train departures that serve the Boston to Washington corridor. It will also boost the number of their higher-speed Acela train that cater to business travelers along the same route and is adding trains to other routes.

Amtrak also said in March Northeast Regional ridership was at about 70% of pre-pandemic levels and added the trains were made possible after it has hired more than 1,500 new employees this year. With gasoline prices soaring, other U.S. transit services have also reported rising ridership.

On Thursday, the New York City subway system set a pandemic-era record for single-day ridership, carrying nearly 3.497 million riders. That topped a pre-pandemic ridership figure of 3.491 million on the subway on March 13, 2020.

Prior to the pandemic, the average weekday ridership totals routinely exceeded 5.5 million in the New York City subway system.

The Washington, DC-area subway system said that in March rail ridership was up 126% over year-earlier levels to 187,250 average daily passengers but still only one-third of pre-pandemic levels on weekdays as many still work from home.

On Monday, Metro said ridership is ahead of projections by nearly 40% in its 2022 budget year as a result of “people returning to offices, higher gas prices, the return of large-scale events, and robust tourism are driving the resurgence.” Last week, average weekday rail ridership Tuesday through Thursday was 230,000.

In Houston, the ridership in Amtrak hit a new post-pandemic high of 35,675 per average weekday in March, up 49% over the same month in 2021.

The U.S. Congress gave $3.7 billion in emergency funding to Amtrak and in 2021 lawmakers awarded public transit systems $30.5 billion in emergency assistance after giving them $39 billion previously.

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