Amtrak Sets Another Ridership Record
Nobody rides trains in America, except of course when they do so in record numbers:
In what is rapidly becoming a post-Thanksgiving tradition, Amtrak has announced that a record-breaking number of riders boarded its trains during the holiday travel week.
Amtrak announced that 737,537 passengers used its trains between Tuesday, Nov. 20, and Monday, Nov. 26. That breaks the record set last year, when the rail agency carried 724,051 riders; that, in turn, broke the record set in 2010 when 704,446 passengers took Amtrak; and that, of course, eclipsed the record-setting mark of 685,876 riders in 2009.
The busiest day of this year’s Thanksgiving travel window was Wednesday, Nov. 21, which saw 140,691 riders. That also set a record for the highest single-day ridership in Amtrak’s history, topping the mark set a year earlier, when 138,736 riders traveled on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
Americans, and Californians in particular, will flock to trains if they are given the choice to do so – if they have reliable services that go where they want to go.
The Pacific Surfliners were an especially useful option this Thanksgiving. I took the photo above on Thanksgiving Day at San Juan Capistrano station. On the way back to Tustin (where I was born and raised) I saw some insanely nasty traffic on Interstate 5 headed south toward San Diego. A friend posted on Facebook that the delays were several hours long just to get to Oceanside. I don’t know of the Surfliners were sold out, but for someone heading to coastal San Diego County from LA or Orange County, the Surfliners would have made for a very comfortable trip free of annoying freeway delays.
As gas prices soar and population continues to grow, high speed rail still makes a lot of sense to help move people around California.