October 13, 2009
Hiawatha ridership down in '09...but still trending up
Not sure what this means for KRM partisans and the mayor's hope for a big payday on State Street property, but we're convinced both sides will declare it significant.
Amtrak's ridership is down on the Hiawatha's Milwaukee to Chicago run. The numbers for fiscal 2009, which ended Sept. 30, show a decline to 738,231, compared to 749,659 in 2008. At the same time, Hiawatha revenue grew from $13.1 million to $13.3 million. Keep in mind that Hiawatha ridership jumped 25% in 2008 over 2007... so even with this 1.5% drop it still shows solid growth.
See, something for both sides to crow about!
Overall, Amtrak's ridership dropped more than one million nationwide, but the year still was its second-best in history. Its trains carried 27.2 million passengers in 2009, better than any year except 2008, when it had 28.7 -- anybody remember $4/gallon gasoline? Yup, that was the year.
Ridership in 2009 was up 5.1% over 2007; Amtrak President Joseph Boardman blamed this year's decline on the weakened economy and a drop in business travel.