Amtrak cites customer satisfaction, safety as factors for record ridership

Posted on November 11, 2019

A driver of this year’s success was the customer service delivered by Amtrak employees and a record $1.6 billion investment on capital assets.
A driver of this year’s success was the customer service delivered by Amtrak employees and a record $1.6 billion investment on capital assets.Amtrak

Amtrak delivered its best operating performance in company history this past fiscal year, with the company touting its continued investment in safety and the customer experience as key factors to its success.

Preliminary results for fiscal year 2019 (Oct. 2018-Sept. 2019) include:

  • Safety: Implemented a Safety Management System and expanded Positive Train Control (PTC) operations, resulting in improvements in a broad range of safety metrics.
  • Capital Investment: $1.6 billion, 9.4% higher than last year’s investment.
  • Ridership: Set a company record providing 32.5 million customer trips, a year-over-year increase of 800,000 passengers.
  • Operating Earnings: ($29.8 million), The best operating performance in history, improving earnings by $140.9 million or 82.6% over FY 2018, which was ($170.6 million).
  • Total Operating Revenue: $3.3 billion, increased 3.6% over FY 2018.

In FY2019, Amtrak was the first major U.S.-based railroad to implement a Safety Management System, a proactive approach to managing safety, resulting in significant improvements, including: a 26% reduction in customer incidents; 72% fewer serious employee injuries; a 10% reduction in Federal Railroad Administration reportable injuries; and a 3% reduction in trespasser and grade crossing incidents. Additionally, PTC installation was completed on nearly all Amtrak-owned and controlled track.

Another driver of this year’s success was the customer service delivered by Amtrak employees and a record $1.6 billion investment on capital assets, including refreshed equipment; technology upgrades like updating the Amtrak mobile app and offering assigned seating; state-of-good-repair work on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) improved overall reliability and performance; station upgrades and enhanced lounges; and other customer-friendly benefits that support the long-term growth of intercity passenger rail.

Amtrak reports its customers have noticed the improvements, with nearly 9 out of 10 customers surveyed expressing overall satisfaction with their experience. The agency achieved a year-over-year increase in customer satisfaction scores in many categories, including clean train interiors, restroom cleanliness, and information about delays. Acela and Northeast Regional customers noticed improvements and were increasingly likely to recommend Amtrak to family, friends, and colleagues.

NEC and State Supported lines all experienced record growth in ridership, with Acela leading the charge at 4.3%, Northeast Regional at 2.9% and state-supported services at 2.4%. Long distance ridership was up nearly 1%.

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