Amtrak breaks ridership, financial records in 2017

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WASHINGTON — Amtrak posted record ridership, revenue and earnings for its fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, 2017:

• Ridership: 31.7 million passenger trips — increased 1.5 percent over fiscal year 2016
• Total Revenue: $3.2 billion — increased 1.1 percent over fiscal year 2016
• Operating Earnings (unaudited, adjusted): ($194 million) — improved 15.7 percent over fiscal year 2016

In ridership, Amtrak achieved year-over-year increases from fiscal year 2016 for all of its service lines:

• Northeast Corridor: 12 million riders — increased 1 percent and was the NEC’s highest ridership year ever
• State Supported Services: 15 million riders — increased 2.1 percent
• Long-Distance Routes: 4.6 million riders — increased 0.9 percent

Amtrak also achieved a new record for cost recovery, covering 94.7 percent of its operating costs with ticket sales and other revenues.

“We provided a vital transportation service to more customers and created strong value for the federal investment,” said Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia. “And we’re going to do even better. Over the next several years, we’re aiming to cover total operating costs from ticket and other revenues by strengthening our services and continuing to drive efficiency. To do this, we are making investments in tracks and stations, on our trains, and in the delivery of customer service so that we can serve more customers with a better experience.”

“Amtrak had a record-breaking year in 2017. To our customers and partners, we thank you for your business. To our employees, we commend you on your dedication and service,” said Amtrak Co-CEO Wick Moorman. “More and more people are choosing rail travel and for good reason. Amtrak offers a more comfortable and convenient travel experience with great amenities such as free Wi-Fi on most trains, plenty of leg room, and no middle seat.”

Other Amtrak highlights in fiscal year 2017 include:

• Completed more than $420 million of state of good repair and renewal infrastructure work, including significant track replacement, numerous projects in the New York area, and a new maintenance facility in Seattle.

• Began a major Infrastructure Renewal program at New York Penn Station, which accelerated important construction work. Amtrak installed 897 track ties, 1,100 feet of rails (or six football fields of track), 1,000 tons of ballast, 7 turnouts (switches), 4 complex diamond crossings, and 176 yards of concrete.

• In coordination with our state partners in Illinois, Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington, deployed state-purchased Charger diesel locomotives on certain routes, enhancing customer comfort, safety, reliability, and emissions levels.

• Designated a Master Developer for Chicago Union Station for a six-year, $1 billion redevelopment of the station and adjacent property. Amtrak is also continuing a multi-year repair program of the Great Hall atrium in the station.

• Streamlined Amtrak’s senior management structure for increased organizational effectiveness, better alignment with the account structure created in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, and greater transparency to customers and stakeholders.

• Continued with our deleveraging of the Amtrak balance sheet, decreasing total debt from $3.3 billion at Sept. 30, 2007 to $1.2 billion at Sept. 30, 2017, a reduction of 64 percent over the 10 year period.

• Launched a new Winter Park Express in Colorado, serving more than 18,000 customers.

• Invested in customer-facing enhancements such as new Amfleet I car interiors and improved Wi-Fi service on our Acela Express trains.

• Continued to be an industry leader in efficient sales distribution with more than four-fifths of Amtrak’s customers using Amtrak’s self-service channels for their reservations and ticketing.

• Increased membership in the Amtrak Guest Rewards program by 19 percent.

• Launched a national partnership with Lyft. Eighty percent of Amtrak customers who have used Lyft indicate it makes their Amtrak trip easier. Amtrak will explore opportunities with additional travel partners in 2018 to provide additional connectivity to and from Amtrak trains.

• Completed “Project unITy,” a corporate-wide effort to integrate, simplify and centralize technology and data services to better meet customer expectations and foster easier communication among Amtrak’s national workforce.

— An Amtrak news release. Nov. 16, 2017.
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