Two years ago, Amtrak was facing a “near-death” experience, Stephen Gardner, CEO of the national passenger rail service, said at a briefing last week with the Association for a Better New York. Both business and travel leisure rapidly grinded to a halt, causing ticket sales to drop 97 percent in a matter of weeks.
Now, the agency is seeing an unprecedented demand for Amtrak seats and rapidly moving to add service to new cities across the nation.
Ridership on the Northeast Corridor is only down 15 percent from 2019 levels, with some routes surpassing pre-pandemic levels. “It’s really very positive that even though the world has changed so much in Covid, we see really strong interest in passenger rail and a whole new generation of riders coming into the network,” Gardner said.