Amtrak ticket sales cover 88% of its operating costs, which means the Federal government picks up the balance.
After that year, Congress awarded Amtrak $1.4 billion in subsidies. This means that Amtrak’s total operating costs equate to $11.667 billion. Ridership on Amtrak varies (it has been trending up lately), but was about 30.7 million in 2013-2014 (the same year the above dollar amounts apply). That’s an average of $380 a year per trip.
Alas, that ridership amount takes in total ticket sales: it doesn’t matter if you ride once that year or take a daily round-trip commute between New York and DC. Which means some folks are paying a lot more, and some a lot less, but on average, the Amtrak rider is paying a lot more than a bus, airplane, or rental car for the same commute.
Amtrak is not competitive, just on price alone. And remember: your lower ticket price is being compensated by the taxpayersyouup to 12% over the cost of that ticket.
As a form of mass transportation, as opposed to nostalgic luxury, Amtrak is a failure. And if it’s a nostalgic luxury, it’s time for riders to pay the price. Raise the costs of the tickets 12%. Kill the federal subsidy.
Better yet, raise the costs even more and turn a 20% profit, rather than a 12% loss. The only reason Amtrak doesn’t do this is because it doesn’t have to: the government provides it a guaranteed 12% profit. Time for that to end.
Unfortunately, it takes yet another disaster for Americans to see how bad the government is at basic business.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.