NEWS RELEASE – November 10, 2022

September ridership increased compared to pre-pandemic number

RICHMOND — The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) today announced that ridership on the Commonwealth’s Amtrak service grew by 37.6 percent in the month of September as compared to pre-pandemic September 2019. During the month, 105,689 passengers traveled compared to 76,793 during the same month in 2019 (pre-pandemic).

September 2022 vs September 2019 Comparison

Route September 2022 September 2019 % Increase
Route 46 Roanoke 28,357 17,192 +64.9%
Route 47 Newport News 28,805 25,314 +13.8%
Route 50 Norfolk 37,609 25,728 +46.2%
Route 51 Richmond 10,918 8,559 +27.6%
Total 105,689 76,793 +37.6%

When comparing this year’s September ridership to last year’s, the numbers show the strong rebound in post-pandemic travel with every route seeing an increase.

September 2022 vs September 2021 Comparison

Route September 2022 September 2021 % Increase
Route 46 Roanoke 28,357 13,026 +117.7%
Route 47 Newport News 28,805 21,524 +33.8%
Route 50 Norfolk 37,609 15,852 +137.3%
Route 51 Richmond 10,918 374*
Total 105,689 50,776 +108.0%

*Note: Richmond route only operated for four days in September 2021.

“Virginians are continually turning to the train to escape traffic and to travel in a cost-effective and comfortable way,” said DJ Stadtler, Executive Director of VPRA.  “We are encouraged by our consistently strong ridership numbers, and we will work closely with Amtrak and our other partners to ensure our service is consistent, safe, and on time.”

Prior to the pandemic, Virginia’s highest ridership on its state-supported trains was August 2019.  Despite a dip in ridership which consistently occurs between August and September — as the busy summer travel season comes to a close — the September 2022 ridership of 105,689 was nine percent higher than the pre-pandemic record of 96,942 set in August 2019.

The Commonwealth of Virginia first launched state-supported passenger rail service in 2009 with one roundtrip between Washington, DC and Lynchburg.  Since that time, the state’s service has grown to include eight roundtrips daily with stops at 17 stations along four corridors.  All four corridors provide service to Washington, DC and points north including Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.

About Virginia Passenger Rail Authority

The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority was established in 2020 to promote, sustain, and expand the availability of passenger and commuter rail service in the Commonwealth. VPRA is committed to delivering passenger rail service as an integrated, affordable, and convenient travel option and plays a critical role in mitigating current and future traffic congestion on Virginia’s highways, promoting economic development, and connecting communities by increasing passenger rail capacity, services, and ridership.