Why Americans Are Back on Board With Amtrak

By: Anneken Tappe · February 14, 2024 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

It Costs How Much?

Airline fares skyrocketed last year, delays are common, airport lounges can be overcrowded, and did we mention that it’s pricey?

Although fares have come down again to approximate pre-pandemic levels, the cost of plane tickets can still take up much of your trip’s budget, especially if you’re traveling with a family. In response to these sky-high costs, some Americans are choosing trains over planes.

The Amtrak Alternative

While the use of the U.S. government-backed Amtrak system is still down versus pre-pandemic levels, ridership rose 24% year-over-year last year, totalling 28 million.

Travelers are enjoying the comfort of more legroom compared to many airline cabins, and the speed for certain routes. Taking a train also often lands you in the center of a city, rather than on the outskirts where airports are normally located.

And then there’s the environmental impact. This has been a thing in Europe for a while already. Rail travel has a significantly lower climate impact than air travel, which accounts for around 2% of global carbon emissions, according to the International Air Transport Association.

It’s not just consumers helping to revitalize railroads. In November, the Biden administration allocated more than $16 billion in funding to provide a faster and more reliable rail experience across Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

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