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Thu May 27, 2021, 10:57 AM

Amtrak strives to roar back from pandemic as it restores more Seattle service




Pent-up demand to travel, along with the spread of vaccines, should help Amtrak regain lost ridership by 2023 or 2024, and even grow, Amtrak President Stephen Gardner predicted Tuesday.

He visited Seattle's King Street Station, then Everett Station, to celebrate the return of daily trips this week on Amtrak's two most popular long-distance lines the Coast Starlight to Los Angeles, and the Empire Builder to Everett, Spokane and Chicago.

Each route had been slashed to three trips a week, like others nationally, after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March 2020. "We lost 97% of our business in the course of a month," Gardner said. Rides have rebounded to about 42% of normal on the long routes, he said.

Gardner said he's optimistic about young adults, who are driving less than older generations. If train times are competitive by improving frequency and higher priority sharing of freight tracks they'll see rail as "productive" time to go online, look out the window, eat or walk around, he argued. ..........(more)

https://www.masstransitmag.com/rail/news/21224523/wa-amtrak-strives-to-roar-back-from-pandemic-as-it-restores-more-seattle-service




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