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TRAINS Amtrak ridership stays steady amid travel fears



Published: Sun, February 3, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



One train that stops in Youngstown generally caters to pleasure travelers.

YOUNGSTOWN -- The number of passengers using Amtrak's Youngstown station is consistent over the last four years, and that's not likely to change despite travel concerns by U.S. residents since the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Unlike some transportation providers, Amtrak isn't feeling the pinch.

"Overall, our ridership's been steady," said Kevin Johnson, spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based company. "We think that's a good sign and a tribute to the service Amtrak provides."

The Youngstown station passenger total in fiscal 2001, which ended Sept. 30, was slightly higher than in the previous three years, according to Amtrak.

9/11 factor? Some of the passengers Amtrak has served since Sept. 11 are new to train travel -- travelers who are hesitant to fly after the hijackings of four commercial airliners that crashed into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

"We know some guests are looking to Amtrak who didn't consider it before," Johnson said, "but we can't quantify the impact of those travelers on Amtrak's sales."

Statistics are not available for passengers served companywide or by the Youngstown station only since Sept. 11, Johnson noted.

In general, he said, commuters who use Amtrak to get to and from work are concentrated in the northeastern United States -- the Boston-New York corridor. Longer trains -- such as the Three Rivers, which runs between New York and Chicago with stops in Youngstown, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia -- generally cater to pleasure travelers.

Traveling west, the Three Rivers stops in Youngstown at 5:58 a.m.; traveling east, it stops in Youngstown at 1 a.m.




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