Happy Birthday Amtrak


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Amtrak, formerly the National Railroad Passenger Corp., celebrates its 40th birthday this week.
As we debate the merits of a high-speed rail system in CA lets look at a few ridership numbers. After 40 years of nationwide service Amtrak carried 28.7 million passengers last year. Source. CA Progress Report.
The HSRA for our state projected 39.3 million riders by 2035 in the 15th year of operation.
The 2010 census reports the population of the USA at 308,745,538. In the same report the population of CA was 37,253,956, or 12 1/2% of the U.S. total.
If after 40 years Amtrak carried less than 30 million passengers, how can the HSRA, with a straight face, project such outrageous projections after 15 years of operation?
It took some digging but I have found and printed CA HSRA ridership projections for the full system in the year 2030.
HSR fares at 50% of air fare levels the numbers are 93.1 million riders. If the ticket prices increase to 77% of air fares the ridership projections dropped to 74 million passengers. Source. California High-Speed Train Project prepared by Parsons Brinckerhoff, Cambridge Systematics, SYSTRA.
To recap. Amtrak took 40 years to reach an all time high of 28.7 million passengers yet the CA HSRA is trying to convince us that we will triple their ridership numbers in 15 years. The Acela Express 457 mile high-speed rail corridor from Washington DC to NYC and Boston had 3.020 million riders in FYE 2009.  What are they smoking?


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