A Message from Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman
At its core, Amtrak is about people – customers like you, and the great people who work for our company. Since coming to Amtrak in September, following four decades in freight railroading, it has truly been a privilege to lead a company focused on safely delivering folks to home and school, to see friends, to enjoy a well-deserved vacation – or one of the hundreds of other reasons you ride our trains. Every day, all of us at Amtrak work hard to move America where it wants to go, while also seeking to provide an excellent experience for our customers.
Thanks to your continued support, Amtrak had a banner 2016. For the sixth consecutive year, we carried more than 30 million passengers – a total ridership of 31.3 million proved to be the best in our history. In addition, we achieved record ticket revenue, an indication that our services are essential to many travelers. By keeping a close eye on the bottom line, we managed to cover 94 percent of our operating costs through ticket sales and other revenues – a truly world-class performance for any passenger railroad.
Many of our successful 2016 initiatives were a result of listening to what customers wanted and quickly working to develop and implement improvements, whether on Amtrak.com and our apps, at stations or onboard our more than 300 daily trains. Amtrak advanced into the future this summer when it announced an investment of nearly $2.5 billion in 28 new trainsets and infrastructure upgrades for the next generation of Acela Express. The first trainset is expected to enter service in 2021. At the same time, significant improvements will be made to the passenger concourses at Washington Union Station and Moynihan Station in New York City. These investments will help us transform your experience on the Northeast Corridor – North America’s busiest rail line.
As the year began, we expanded complimentary Wi-Fi to eastern long-distance trains like the Crescent and the Lake Shore Limited – meaning that 90 percent of our customers can stay connected to work and home while traveling. Just in time for Thanksgiving, we unveiled improved Wi-Fi on Acela Express that is now six times faster.
We grew our pets program so you can travel on even more trains, like the Amtrak Cascades, with a small cat or dog. Exploring destinations across our network via pedal power is now simpler with expansion of carry-on and trainside checked bicycle services on many long-distance routes. Step off the train, hop on your bike and see where your next adventure leads you.
We also welcomed business class onboard the Auto Train, Cardinal and other overnight trains. In addition to more spacious seating, business class on these routes includes amenities such as complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and access to premium digital newspapers. A refresh of our Amtrak Guest Rewards program means it is easier for members to earn and redeem points for free Amtrak travel and other rewards. As a result, membership in the program surged to more than six million people this year.
We know you have many travel choices, so I want to personally thank you for trusting in America’s Railroad. All of us at Amtrak look forward to seeing you onboard in 2017.