Amtrak’s on-time performance dropped during the first eight months of the fiscal year compared to the same time frame a year earlier, according to an analysis of the railroad’s performance numbers released for May.
During the first two-thirds of Fiscal Year 2014, which started on Oct. 1, Amtrak saw a 73.6 percent system wide on-time rate, based on numbers for a train’s end point. That’s down 11.5 percent from last year’s 85.1 percent rate, according to numbers from the railroad, the most recent available on its website.
While Amtrak’s Acela service maintains a 77.2 percent on time rate, its long-distance trains have an abysmal 54.3 percent on time rate during the first two-thirds of the fiscal year, including a 47.1 percent rate in May. That’s a 22.3 percent drop compared to the same time during the 2013 fiscal year.
Only two Amtrak routes experienced an increase in their on-time rate so far this year: its Capitols service saw 0.9 percent increase and has been on time 95.8 percent of the time thus far this year while the Heartland Flyer saw a 0.5 percent uptick, but has been on time only 63.3 percent of the time.
Taking all stations into account, Amtrak claimed a 73.1 percent on time rate thus far in Fiscal Year 2014, down 8.9 percent from the same time last year.
Amtrak is looking to acquire new high-speed trainsets that will supplement and eventually replace its Acela Express in use on the Northeast Corridor (NEC).
The federally supported passenger railroad has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking 28 “next-generation high-speed trainsets” that meet or exceed current Acela trip-times on the existing NEC. In addition, Amtrak says the new equipment aims to have 40 percent more seats per train than the current sets in use.
Amtrak contends its Acela service is as popular as ever and experienced a 7 percent ridership increase over last year, and that trains are often sold out during peak periods.