Rail ridership picks up steam

In this August 2011 file photo, the Missouri River Runner gets an enthusiastic response as it pulls away from the Lohman’s Landing station in Jefferson City headed towards Kansas City.

In this August 2011 file photo, the Missouri River Runner gets an enthusiastic response as it pulls away from the Lohman’s Landing station in Jefferson City headed towards Kansas City. Photo by News Tribune.

More Missourians are parking their cars and opting for the train.

Ridership on Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner grew to 196,661 passengers during the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to MoDOT.

That’s the sixth consecutive year of ridership growth. Officials said increased reliability is the primary reason behind this growth.

Trains were on time 90 percent of the time in fiscal year 2013. That ontime reliability also drives overall customer satisfaction, currently at 91 percent, which is the third best of all Amtrak routes so far this year, officials said.

Michelle Teel, multimodal operations director at MoDOT, said, “Significant investments in the corridor and committed efforts by Union Pacific, Amtrak and MoDOT ensure passengers get to their destinations on time and at a very reasonable price.”

An increase in riders results in greater ticket revenues, which reduces the amount of state financial support. Ticket revenue increased by 130 percent in the past six years.

Twice a day, the Missouri River Runner runs between Kansas City and St. Louis, with eight stops along the way, including Jefferson City.

Figures show the Capital City is the fourth busiest station along the corridor.

From 2007-13, Jefferson City has seen an increase of 19 percent of riders coming into or out of the station.

Officials say passenger traffic has remained pretty consistent because of state government being located here.

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