Ridership down 95%, Amtrak predicts $700M in losses

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Amtrak started the year on track to break even, in terms of operating earnings — a first in the transportation system’s history. 

Then, the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Ridership has fallen 95%, and now, the transit agency estimates a potential $700 million loss in adjusted operating earnings.

Amtrak is working on a plan to ramp up its service — when that will be, remains unclear.

President and CEO Bill Flynn said it’s starting with a riders survey, conducted by an outside firm.

“We are going to rely on that, along with our own survey work that we do with our customers. We certainly will reintroduce Acela into operations” — Amtrak’s flagship service between Boston and Washington, D.C., Flynn said.

“We'll introduce the product ahead of demand, because you don't want that product out of the market for too long because it’s an excellent service,” he continued.

Flynn said there may be a very modest service increase starting in the summer.

“We are conducting a fair amount of research right now as to what recovery and ramp up will look like. It's not clear, and so we are developing several planning scenarios,” he added.