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Cost of Intercity Trips by Train and Bus

Cost of Intercity Trips by Train and Bus

Amtrak collected an average of 20¢ per revenue passenger-mile in fiscal year (FY) 2000 (in chained 1996 dollars1), up 33 percent from 15¢ per revenue passenger-mile in FY 19932 (figure 35). During the 1990s, Amtrak shifted its focus to urban routes in the northeast and west. When Amtrak reduced its number of route-miles by 3 percent in 1995, revenue per passenger-mile increased by 13 percent the following fiscal year. When track operational length was further reduced by 7 percent in 1999, revenue per passenger-mile increased 7 percent the following fiscal year [1, 2].

Average intercity Class I bus fares rose 27 percent, from $21 to $26 (in chained 1996 dollars), between 1990 and 2000 (figure 36). The average bus fare is based on total intercity passenger revenues and the number of intercity bus passenger trips, as reported by carriers to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Since passenger-mile data are not reported, average bus fare per passenger-mile cannot be calculated and compared with similar Amtrak fare data.


1. Association of American of Railroads, Railroad Facts (Washington, DC: 1994–2002 issues).

2. National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak), Amtrak 2000 Annual Report, Statistical Appendix (Washington, DC: 2001).

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 1996 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

2 Amtrak published ticket yield data for FY 1991 through FY 2000 in its 2000 Annual Report. The 2001 Annual Report, published online in February 2003, contains consolidated financial statements only.

Updated: Saturday, May 20, 2017