Amtrak’s systemwide ridership climbed to 7.9 million passengers from May through July, compared with 7 million in the same three-month period in 2007. The railroad expects 322,000 riders over Labor Day weekend, a 10 percent increase from last year. The airline industry is projecting a decline of 6.5 percent in domestic travel over the holiday period. And AAA expects the number of people who travel by automobile, who account for more than 83 percent of all holiday travel, to dip 1.1 percent…
The Pacific Surfliner — which runs between San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo — carried 301,000 riders last month, a 12.3 percent increase compared with July 2007. Traffic on the line between Oakland and Sacramento was 162,000 in July, up 33 percent.
In the Northwest, riders on the line connecting Portland, Seattle and Vancouver climbed last month to 78,000, a 12.5 percent jump. In the Midwest, the Chicago to Milwaukee route carried 79,000 passengers in July, up 38 percent. And in the Northeast, trains between Harrisburg, Pa., and Philadelphia, and between Boston and Portland, Maine, have also had double-digit gains.
The high-speed East Coast Acela service grew to 273,000 travelers in July, a 5.5 percent increase. Kummant said Amtrak has reached capacity on the popular service and is considering adding cars, an option that won’t be cheap or easy.
When rail ridership increases, carbon emissions fall. When rail ridership increases, that’s more money not being spent on oil. When rail ridership increases, congestion on roads and at airports is reduced. And better rail service would enhance all of these effects. No. Brain. Er.