How gas prices are driving Amtrak’s ridership problems

March 3, 2016

A few weeks ago I did a story on Amtrak’s money woes. Ridership was dropping, and gas prices were listed as a causal factor. Here’s what Amtrak CEO and President Joseph Boardman wrote in a Feb. 9 memo to employees.Website Insert Fleet for Sale or Lease copy

“Continued low gas and oil prices are hurting our ridership levels. Two years ago, the price of crude oil was more than $100 a barrel. Last year, it was $60 a barrel. Today, it is has fallen to almost $25 a barrel. As a result, the price of gas is now about $2 a gallon nationally – the lowest it has been since 2009. When gas prices are cheap, many customers who normally ride with Amtrak are either choosing to drive for shorter trips, or choosing to fly for longer trips. Either way, our bottom line takes a big hit.”

Amtrak’s half way through its fiscal year, which ends in September, and it’s falling short of its budget targets. Ridership dropped about two percent from its high point in 2013 of 31.5 million to 2015, when Amtrak reported almost 30.9 million riders.

Click here to read the full story.


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