Patricia Quinn leads Amtrak’s Downeaster to a record-setting year

March 25, 2014

Patricia Quinn, executive director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority… [s]ince assuming NNEPRA’s reins in September 2005… has seen yearly ridership increase 123% to a record-setting 556,347 passengers in fiscal year 2013…

She’s particularly pleased that the twice-daily Downeaster service to Freeport and Brunswick exceeded daily average ridership projections in 2013 by 50% in its first year of operation…

Although Quinn says it’s hard to quantify the financial impact the extension has had on Freeport and Brunswick businesses, she notes that the Downeaster carried more than 100,000 tourists into Maine last year and that the number of tourists taking day trips into Maine increased more than 30%. Brunswick Downtown Association named NNEPRA its 2013 Member of the Year, citing its impact on bringing new visitors to the college town…


Those numbers don’t happen by accident. Quinn says she regularly reviews with her staff and NNEPRA’s board the latest metrics about ridership, safety, costs and public satisfaction ratings… In 2013, NNEPRA exceeded its benchmark goal of recovering at least 50% of costs through operating revenues, with $9.1 million or 55% recovered. An additional $6.1 million (36%) in federal funding and $1.5 million in state funds helped pay for the Downeaster service…

“We push them to think outside of the box,” she says of her relationship with Amtrak. “It’s a continual effort, and it’s not always easy. But it all goes back to the relationship we’re trying to establish with our customers…”

Read the rest of the story in MaineBiz, 24 March 2014.

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