JEFFERSON CITY - Ridership for Amtrak Missouri River Runner trains was up by 16 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30. There were 190,628 passengers in FY 2011 compared to 164,817 in FY 2010.
"More and more customers are relying on Amtrak to take them to their destinations. After all, it's reliable, economical and an environmentally cleaner way to travel," said Rod Massman, Missouri Department of Transportation rail administrator. "Whether you are a student, a businessman or woman or a family, Amtrak is a convenient way to get from point A to point B."
A constant fluctuation of higher gas prices is one reason more people are choosing the train. Service is another. Missouri River Runner trains reported an 89 percent on-time performance rate on average for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011. The Missouri service has also been noted for its overall customer satisfaction. In May, it received a 97 percent satisfaction rate, the second best among state supported and other short distance corridors.
Amtrak trains have been supported by the state financially since 1979. Growth in ridership increases ticket revenues and helps keep the state's costs for the service down.
Several imminent projects will continue to improve the state's passenger rail service. Missouri has received $75 million to date from the Federal Railroad Administration to remove additional bottlenecks along the corridor, conduct a comprehensive state rail plan, purchase new passenger rail equipment and improve access to the St. Louis Gateway Station. Plus, many communities along the St. Louis - Kansas City corridor continue their support of the service. Sedalia recently completed station renovations and Hermann expects to begin construction on a new station in the fall.