Amtrak ridership continues steady increase

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Missouri News Horizon
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo
. -- MoDOT officials say increased on-time performance is leading to more people traveling the state by rail.

Michelle Teel, the multi-modal operations director for the agency told a House committee Thursday that ridership on Amtrak is up by 16 percent over last year. Teel said the increase continues a five year trend.

Teel attributes increased ridership with improved on time performance by the passenger rail carrier. So far, trains are running on time 89 percent of the time. Three years ago, that number was 63 percent. Teel told the committee that the department’s surveys found 89 percent of passengers satisfied with their experience.

Increased sidings that allow trains to pass each other and improvements to track condition are playing a large part in the on time performance of Amtrack, Teel said.

The legislative committee is chaired by State Representative Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood. It is tasked with evaluating passenger rail service in Missouri currently and looking into any future needs. Stream told committee members that they would hold a series of hearings before the start of the legislative session. At the end of the hearing process, the committee will prepare a report that will be turned over to House Speaker Steven Tilley, R-Perryville.