JEFFERSON CITY - Ridership for Amtrak Missouri River Runner trains grew by 25.7 percent for the month of July over the same period last year. The 22,039 customers riding in July came close to setting a record high for the passenger rail service between St. Louis and Kansas City, since numbers had not reached that level in one month since July 2001.
"The significant improvement of the Missouri River Runner's on-time performance in the last year is making it a more reliable mode of travel," said Rod Massman, Missouri Department of Transportation rail administrator. "Growing dependability and better efforts to communicate the benefits of riding the train are drawing more customers to the service."
Missouri River Runner trains reported an 88 percent on-time performance rate in the month of June, but achieved an even better 92 percent on-time performance for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010. The Missouri service has also been noted for its overall customer satisfaction, receiving a 91 percent satisfaction rate in June and ranking third best of all Amtrak routes for the year.
Amtrak trains have been supported by the state financially since 1979. An increase in riders means an increase in ticket revenues, which helps reduce the amount of state financial support. In addition, Missouri has received $31 million for high-speed rail projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act earlier this year and applied for six more projects on Aug. 6. These funds will be used on additional capacity-building projects that will build an even better and more reliable passenger train service across Missouri.
Amtrak service connecting St. Louis and Chicago was also up, by 12 percent. Nationwide, state supported or short distance corridors saw nearly a 7 percent increase in riders.