FRA publish quarterly report on Amtrak’s passenger rail operations
The FRA have published the report which is the first to use metrics that provide comprehensive data on the passenger rail performance.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has published a report on performance metrics for Amtrak’s intercity passenger train operations, covering the first quarter of Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. This report is the first to use all metrics described in FRA’s November 2020 final rule for Metrics and Minimum Standards for Intercity Passenger Rail Service now codified in 49 CFR Part 273. The Metrics and Standards Rule establishes minimum standards for measuring the performance and service quality of intercity passenger train operations across four categories: on-time performance and train delays, customer service, financial performance, and public benefits.
“Customers deserve high quality, reliable passenger rail service without interference from freight trains that can cause substantial delay,” Amit Bose, FRA Administrator, said. “This report provides a meaningful tool for everyone, including customers, communities, and other stakeholders, to review comprehensive data on passenger rail performance.”
The first quarter FY 2022 report builds on the previous quarter’s report by including customer on-time performance for all train schedules and routes, as well as public benefits metrics. The Metrics and Standards Rule establishes a minimum standard for Amtrak intercity passenger rail on-time performance: at least 80 per cent of a train’s customers must arrive on time (defined as no later than 15 minutes after the scheduled arrival time) for any two consecutive calendar quarters. The largest single category of delays is those attributed to freight train interference, at 22 per cent of total delay minutes.
The report also includes ridership data, which shows continued positive quarterly growth as travel demand recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Amtrak ridership grew by 48 per cent from the third quarter of FY 2021 to the fourth quarter and increased again in the first quarter of FY 2022 by seven percent, for a total of 5,530,225 riders. In addition, public benefits metrics, included for the first time in the FY 2022 first quarter report, show that in FY 2021 Amtrak served 67,835 riders in areas not well-served by other modes of intercity transportation, such as air or intercity buses.
President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is helping the FRA strengthen its support for passenger rail projects across the country by increasing the funding for FRA’s discretionary grant programmes. This includes the new Corridor Identification and Development Programme, which will identify new and enhanced intercity passenger rail corridors and develop them with comprehensive planning and development efforts, and the Interstate Rail Compacts Programme, which will provide financial assistance to entities implementing interstate rail compacts. Furthermore, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $22 billion to Amtrak to eliminate the maintenance backlog, acquire equipment, and pursue other activities.