Amtrak ridership returns to pre-COVID levels

Amtrak ridership returns to pre-COVID levels

The ridership of Amtrak has returned to pre-COVID 19 levels, rising by more than 10 million riders in the year ending September 30th, according to the U.S. rail company.

The ridership rose 89 percent over 2021 levels to 22.9 million riders, up 10.8 million passengers over the previous year, while the overall ridership hit around 85 percent of pre-COVID levels in the last six months of the 2022 budget year.

The company reported a adjusted operating loss of $884.9 million, an improvement of over 18.2 percent from the 2021 budget year, and that its ridership and revenue could rise above 90 percent of pre-COVID levels by September 2023.

Amtrak hopes to add 39 corridor routes and 166 cities by the year 2035 to expand its service throughout the U.S.

In the face of the lingering impacts of the pandemic, Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner said we worked hard to restore service and grow ridership.

Under a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in November 2021, Congress approved $22 billion for Amtrak.

In March, the Biden administration asked Congress for $3 billion in annual funding for Amtrak for 2023, which is $2.33 billion more than the current annual funding for the company.

Amtrak said passenger traffic is bucking the trend of lower ridership seen on most commuter railroads and public transit systems.

In its 2022 budget, Amtrak invested $2.3 billion in capital projects, including the Portal North Bridge in New Jersey near New York City and the B&P Tunnel Replacement Program in Baltimore.

It has also added more than 3,700 workers to its 11 routes and hired more than 3,700 workers in collaboration with its state and federal partners.