News & Reviews News Wire Amtrak fiscal 2022 report lists accomplishments, masks shortcomings: analysis

Amtrak fiscal 2022 report lists accomplishments, masks shortcomings: analysis

By Bob Johnston | November 29, 2022

| Last updated on February 2, 2024

Company touts ridership increases over 2021 pandemic-year figures

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Red and blue locomotive on passenger train
Led by one of the 50th-anniversary heritage locomotives, the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited travels through Richmond, Mass., on Aug. 21, 2022. Bob Johnston

WASHINGTON — Amtrak’s announcement of its results for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2022, heralds an overall ridership growth of 89% compared with the period from October 2020 to September 2021.

The press release and accompanying report was issued Tuesday, just ahead of a public Board of Directors meeting in St. Louis on Dec. 1. Its comparison of ridership by operating unit shows the largest increases occurred in the categories where patronage had been hurt the most in the previous fiscal year:

— Northeast Corridor: up 110%

— State-supported service: up 85%

— Long-distance trains: up 56%

An appendix further breaks out ridership comparisons with 2021 by route, but as has been recent practice, fails to provide revenue information by route or category.

In reports Amtrak management sent to states throughout fiscal 2022, ticket revenue by route is also supplied, with comparisons to fiscal 2019, rather than 2021. Trains News Wire obtained all year-end data earlier this month [see “Capacity’s impact shows in Amtrak’s fiscal 2022 revenue and ridership: analysis,” Nov. 10, 2022].

The report issued Tuesday did include revenue comparisons between 2019 and 2022, saying operating revenue of $2.8 billion were “only 15% below Amtrak’s FY19 pre-pandemic revenue levels” and adjusted operating earnings at $884.9 million were an 18.2% improvement over fiscal 2021, but “$145 million ahead of Amtrak’s FY22 plan due to strong ticket revenue growth.”

As News Wire reported, long-distance revenue was up 23% in 2022 over 2019 despite frequency reductions and reduced coach and sleeping car capacity, while Northeast Corridor and state-supported revenue were both off about 30%.

Sources tell News Wire that “beating the plan” is one component on which year-end management incentives and bonuses are determined.

Amtrak presents the year as the beginning of “a new era of intercity passenger investment.” Its list of fiscal-year accomplishments under “New, Expanded and Restored Service” category noted nine restored or expanded operations on the Northeast Corridor or in state-supported segments; the only Long Distance entry acknowledged that all trains on the network had been restored.

The report also outlines descriptions of equipment, infrastructure, station, accessibility, technology and diversity advances during the past year, as well as forward-looking initiatives. “Based on current forecasts,” it says, “Amtrak expects ridership and revenue to improve above 90% of pre-COVID levels by the end of FY23.”

6 thoughts on “Amtrak fiscal 2022 report lists accomplishments, masks shortcomings: analysis

  1. Just think what the LD numbers would be if trains equipped properly, with dining cars open to all and all routes running daily.

  2. Obviously incentive structure is perverse. Until you hire to fill vacancies, can staff full complement of equipment on all routes at all times, can feed coach passengers, can bring all unmaintained equipment back in service, and can bring purchased equipment actually on-line NO senior AMTRAK leader should receive any incentive pay — and probably should be docked.

  3. And AMTRAK leadership is proud that even after 4 years it will be down over 10% compared to pre-pandemic?????????????????

  4. The editors of Pravda applaud and express their support.

    Reading this story would have us think Gardner & Coscia are not in charge; to overlook how they are not responsible for the crisis at Amtrak re equipment and staff.

    Reading this manipulated report is like listening to John Kerry brag how he recounts all his highlights for the quality of air while overlooking his constant use of a private jet; it’s impact on air quality.

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