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Amtrak's ridership, ticket revenue increase in fiscal 2014

| Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, 8:36 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Amtrak's ridership and ticket revenue increased in fiscal 2014, buoyed by continued growth in the Northeast Corridor, the rail service reported Monday.

But the numbers also indicate flagging activity on long-distance lines and regional services that rely partly on support from taxpayers in some states.

Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman warned that ridership on those lines could continue to decline unless freight railroad companies that own the tracks and operate the dispatching system do a better job of accommodating passenger trains.

Overall ridership exceeded 30.9 million, a modest increase of 0.2 percent over the previous fiscal year. Amtrak last year reported record ridership of 31.6 million but revised that downward to 30.85 million, reflecting a more accurate passenger count based on ticket sales.

Ridership growth cooled off last year because of a harsh winter season and on-time performance issues associated with freight train delays and infrastructure needing replacement, the company said in a release Monday.

While passenger growth barely rose, ticket revenues grew by 4 percent — from $2.11 billion in fiscal 2013 to nearly $2.2 billion in fiscal 2014.

More than 11.6 million riders climbed aboard Acela and other Amtrak trains traveling the Northeast Corridor linking Washington and Boston in fiscal 2014. That was up 3.3 percent from last year and set a record, pushing ticket revenue up 8.2 percent, the company said.

But regional, state-supported lines had a 0.6 percent decline in passengers, while ridership on long-distance routes fell about 4.5 percent.

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