Federal Railroad Administration Publishes Quarterly Report on the Performance and Service Quality of Intercity Passenger Rail for Fourth Quarter of FY 2021
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today published a report and supporting data files that measure the performance and service quality of Amtrak intercity passenger train operations during the fourth quarter of FY 2021. This report uses metrics defined in FRA’s November 2020 final rule for Metrics and Minimum Standards for Intercity Passenger Rail Service (Metrics and Standards Rule), which establishes performance measurement and service quality metrics across four categories: on-time performance and train delays, customer service, financial performance, and public benefits. The large majority of Amtrak routes operate over track owned by other railroads, who have a role in sustaining Amtrak’s performance and who can be held responsible for causing delays if Amtrak’s on-time service falls below established thresholds.
“This data provides in-depth, comprehensive information on passenger rail performance that can be used by a wide array of stakeholders, from the individual customer to transportation policymakers,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “As the country returns to travel, customers deserve to have access to high quality, reliable passenger rail service. Amtrak and the host railroads have made remarkable progress in reviewing and, in some cases, updating train schedules, which are critical steps to improving passenger rail service,” said Bose.
The report includes ridership data, which shows positive quarterly growth as travel demand recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Amtrak ridership grew by 48% from the third quarter of FY 2021 to the fourth quarter for a total of 5,164,708 passengers in the fourth quarter.
Furthermore, FRA is preparing to implement $66 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds, including $22 billion to Amtrak to eliminate the maintenance backlog and modernize the Northeast Corridor. These improvements will allow Amtrak to expand its service while ensuring that current operations run more smoothly and efficiently.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also bolsters FRA’s competitive discretionary grant programs, which will allow FRA to directly support passenger rail projects for communities and states around the country. For example, the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program will receive $43.5 billion in advanced appropriations over 5 years to support intercity transportation projects both on and outside of the Northeast Corridor. In addition, newly introduced funding opportunities such as the Corridor Identification and Development program will identify new and enhanced intercity passenger rail corridors and develop the necessary service planning elements.
The Metrics and Standards rule establishes a minimum standard for Amtrak intercity passenger rail on-time performance. At least 80% of a train’s customers must arrive on time (defined as no later than 15 minutes after the scheduled arrival time) for any two consecutive calendar quarters. The rule also requires Amtrak and its host railroads to jointly certify that each Amtrak train schedule aligns with the on-time performance metric and minimum standard.
Due to the phased implementation of the Metrics and Standards rule, customer on-time performance data for disputed train schedules is not included in this report. The next quarterly report, covering the first quarter of FY 2022, will include customer on-time performance data for all train schedules.
FRA plans to develop additional reports and tools in the future to make viewing and analyzing data in the quarterly reports more accessible for stakeholders and the public.
The FY 2021 Q4 report and data files are available here.