Amtrak ridership up as icy hand of budgetary death stays its touch yet again
Amtrak (have you seen its most recent ad?) has a bit of good news: Ridership is up for the third straight year. Between Oct. 1, 2011, and Oct. 1, 2012, the train system shuttled 31.2 million passengers around, often on time. As its celebratory blog post notes, that’s a 49 percent increase over 2000.
(The drop in 2009 is often attributed to the economic downturn, but is actually because Joe Biden started using Air Force Two.) (If I don’t make a Biden joke in every Amtrak post, I get fired. It’s in my contract.)
So that’s good news, anyway. And the agency is making more money, if not enough. Revenue increased 6 percent last year, making up half the budget of the $4 billion agency.
All of this feels a bit like clapping for the marathon runner who finished in just under six hours. Yeah, you did it and it’s an accomplishment, but really only friends and family are that excited.