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Amtrak: News Release - May 11, 2000: Amtrak Begins the New Millennium with strong gains in Ridership and Revenue News & Views
National Railroad Passenger Corporation
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Washington, D.C. 20002-4285

Contact:John Wolf
May 11, 2000


Since The New Year Began, Amtrak Has Unveiled Major Strategic Business Plan Initiatives Designed To Bolster Financial Performance

WASHINGTON - Amtrak today reported growing strength in key performance measurements - revenue and ridership - from January through April 2000. During that period, total revenue reached $638 million, representing an 8 percent improvement compared to the same period last year. Ridership is also up 3.4 percent to more than seven million customers, aided by a particularly strong April when ridership increased 7 percent compared to that month in 1999.

Among the financial highlights, Amtrak's Mail and Express business achieved revenues of more than $40 million through April, an increase of 35 percent from same period last year. (Express is the shipment of time-sensitive packages formerly transported by trucks.)

Among some of the ridership highlights for 2000 are improved ridership on long-distance trains such as the Three Rivers (New York-Chicago), up 10 percent; the City of New Orleans (Chicago-New Orleans), up 8 percent; and the Texas Eagle (Chicago- San Antonio-Los Angeles), up 11 percent. Ridership highlights among corridor trains include the Capitols (Sacramento-San Jose-Oakland), up 38 percent; Cascades (Eugene-Portland-Seattle-Vancouver), up 18 percent; the Metroliner (New York-Washington), up 4 percent; and St. Louis-Kansas City corridor, up 6 percent.

"We are heading in the right direction and it shows that our strategic business plan is continuing to transform Amtrak into a commercially viable, financially sound and customer-focused organization." said Gov. Tommy Thompson, Amtrak's chairman of the board. "This year, Amtrak has unveiled critical business plan initiatives that will help build a thriving railroad for the future."

To further ensure that goal and improve the service Amtrak provides to its customers beyond 2003 when the railroad is scheduled to eliminate its need for federal operating assistance, Amtrak announced its Network Growth Strategy (NGS) this past February. The NGS will expand passenger rail service in 21 states and double the number of shipping lanes the railroad offers as part of its Mail and Express business. Based on the findings of its comprehensive economic analysis, Amtrak projects the NGS will increase market share and boost revenues by $229 million in 2003.

In addition to the NGS, Amtrak launched the first phase of its high-speed Acela service in the Northeast that reduced the travel time between Boston and New York from five to four hours. Ridership on Acela Regional (Boston-New York-Washington), inaugurated Jan. 31, has been 33 percent higher compared to the trains it replaced that operated during the same time period in 1999.

"Amtrak is investing in the business and in the customer and the results are extremely encouraging," said George Warrington, Amtrak's president and chief executive officer. "We are seeing improved ridership and revenue numbers as we implement our Network Growth Strategy and prepare to launch an unprecedented customer satisfaction guarantee this summer, the pace will gain momentum."

Amtrak operates a 22,000-mile intercity passenger rail system, serving more than 500 communities in 45 states. Under Amtrak's new leadership, the corporation is turning the corner to become a successful business enterprise. As part of its turnaround, Amtrak is focusing on growing public and private business partnerships, improving and guaranteeing consistency and quality of service, introducing high-speed rail in the Northeast, and developing other high-speed rail corridors nationwide. For more information about Amtrak, including schedules, fares, and reservations, visit Amtrak's Web site at