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January 22, 2013

MDOT and Amtrak announce best-ever ridership record on three Michigan passenger rail routes in 2012

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Written by: Bruce Snook
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Fast Facts:

-  Nearly 800,000 passengers traveled on three Amtrak routes in Michigan in 2012, setting a ridership record. 

- MDOT officials cited increased awareness of train service and a positive focus on the future of rail travel as the reasons ridership was up. 

- Revenue from the three routes also set a record of $27.8 million in 2012.                      

Nearly 800,000 passengers traveled on Amtrak trains in Michigan in 2012, setting a highest-ever ridership record for the state’s three routes. Michigan’s routes include the three-times-a-day Wolverine Service (Pontiac/Detroit-Chicago), once daily Blue Water Service (Port Huron-East Lansing-Chicago), and once daily Pere Marquette Service (Grand Rapids-Chicago).

Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) officials cited increased awareness of train service and a positive focus on the future of rail travel as the most important reasons why ridership numbers are increasing. In addition, Amtrak operated extra trains in Michigan to supplement regularly scheduled Wolverine service (between Chicago and Kalamazoo/Ann Arbor) over the extended Thanksgiving holiday, and added extra capacity and frequencies over Christmas and New Year’s, enhancing the strong performance.

There were 792,769 riders overall, with 495,277 traveling the Wolverine, 187,991 passengers on the Blue Water, and 109,501 passengers on the Pere Marquette. This compares to 780,655 total riders in 2011. The Wolverine service had an especially strong finish to the year, posting large ridership gains over the last four months compared to 2011: up 19.7 percent in September, up 9.5 percent in October, up 8.6 percent in November, up 6 percent in December.

Revenue from the three routes also jumped to a best-ever high of $27.8 million in 2012, with Wolverine revenue at $18.4 million, Blue Water at $6.1 million, and Pere Marquette at $3.3 million.

Amtrak operates intercity trains in partnership with 15 states, including Michigan’s Pere Marquette and Blue Water services, which are supported by state grants.

To view a graph showing Michigan Revenue & Ridership, click here.






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