(Lansing, MI - WHTC News) - How successful passenger rail travel is in Michigan depends on how one looks at the latest numbers.
State transportation department officials crowed yesterday about new ridership records set for the fiscal year that ended on September 30th. A total of over 739 thousand passengers boarded Amtrak’s Wolverine, Blue Water and Pere Marquette lines in the past 12 months, an increase of eight and 18.7 percent for the first two routes, but a decline of 1.3 percent in West Michigan, due to what M-DOT says is a switch of the New Buffalo stop from the Pere Marquette to the other two lines. Ticket revenue totaled 24.5 million dollars.
Locally, the Holland stop on the Pere Marquette saw a 1.3 percent increase in boardings and deboardings for fiscal 2010 to a total of over 36 thousand, but that was down three thousand from its peak of two years ago. For the first nine months of this calendar year, ridership out of the Tulip City is down 20 percent, from nearly 35 thousand in 2009 to about 28 thousand in 2010. Last month was a good one, though, with 16.7 percent more riders out of Holland this September as compared to last September.
-Gary Stevens, WHTC/WYVN News