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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

FRA Publishes Final Rule Establishing Metrics and a Minimum Standard to Measure the Performance and Service Quality of Intercity Passenger Rail

Monday, November 16, 2020

U.S Department of Transportation Office of Public Affairs 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20590 www.transportation.gov/briefingroom News 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today published a final rule setting forth metrics and a minimum standard to measure the performance and service quality of Amtrak intercity passenger train operations, including metrics relating to on-time performance and train delays, customer service, financial, and public benefits. The final rule requires Amtrak and its host railroads to certify Amtrak schedules, and sets an on-time performance minimum standard of 80% for any two consecutive calendar quarters. Other metrics that FRA defines in the final rule include ridership, train delays, station performance, and host running time. 

“This final rule is a major accomplishment for this Administration and a huge victory for the traveling public,” Administrator Ronald L. Batory said. “When I personally met with the leaders of Amtrak and the nation’s largest freight railroads earlier this year, I impressed upon them the need for the traveling public to have reliable passenger rail service, and the Administration’s final rule reflects a commitment to improving Amtrak’s performance in the modern-day freight rail environment.” 

The final rule’s singular on-time performance standard gives customers, Amtrak, the host railroads, and other stakeholders a method to objectively gauge Amtrak trains. “Everyone relying on one standard means that when problems arise, we can all speak the same language to work toward a common goal,” Batory said. 

After issuing the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in March, FRA hosted a telephonic hearing on April 30 and received more than 320 written comments in response to the proposed rulemaking. 

“There are a lot of voices and perspectives in this conversation,” Batory said. “We’ve listened and worked diligently to create the best solution for all.” 

The final rule is posted at: https://railroads.dot.gov/elibrary/metrics-and-standards-final-rule-november-16-2020. 

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