After adding more routes in Virginia, ridership on four state-supported Amtrak routes hit all-time highs in July, beating pre-pandemic levels with 110,256 passengers.
“These numbers make it very clear – Virginians want more passenger rail to be a part of their transportation network,” Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VRPA) Chief Operating Officer Mike McLaughlin said in a press release. “With the launch of two new roundtrips and the resumption of another, we know that rail works for the Commonwealth and look forward to further expanding service throughout the state.”
The Virginia General Assembly created the VRPA in 2020 to increase passenger rail service through railroad-industry partnerships. In July, Amtrak and the VRPA announced two new round-trips from Washington, D.C. – one to Roanoke and one to Norfolk – and resumed a route to Newport News that had been paused due to COVID-19.
July 2022 ridership was 19.8 percent higher than pre-pandemic ridership in July 2019, and 28.9 percent higher than June 2022.
The Norfolk route saw a 36.5 percent increase from July 2019, from 28,864 passengers to 40,763 passengers. In July 2022, Roanoke ridership hit 27,374, up 31.4 percent from July 2019, Richmond hit 12,848, up 26.3 percent, and Newport News hit 29,271, 6.9 percent less than in July 2019.
From June 2022 to July, “Every route saw an increase in ridership with Newport News topping the list. That route with stops in Alexandria, Woodbridge, Quantico, Fredericksburg, Ashland, Richmond Staples Mill Station, Richmond Main Street Station, Williamsburg, and Newport News carried an additional 10,315 passengers in July compared to June, a 54 percent increase,” Amtrak said in its release.
“We are encouraged by the ridership growth and enthusiasm customers have in selecting Amtrak’s state-supported Virginia service as an option for travel,” said Ray Lang, vice president of state supported services at Amtrak. “We will continue to strive to give travelers the best experience possible with congestion free, frequent, convenient and reliable service.”
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