Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- When is the last time you rode the train? A new report from the Brookings Institution shows Amtrak ridership is now at record levels.
The Syracuse train station saw a 38.6 percent jump from 1997 to 2012. It’s been a real awakening for the nation’s once struggling primary passenger rail carrier.
For some, money has a lot to do with their decision to travel by train.
“Price was really reasonable for me, $82 from Wocester to Syracuse,” said first time Amtrak passenger Crisann Sullivan.
It’s the same for Kimberly Haynes who uses Amtrak often. “Between the last two semesters, I’ve been using it a lot. My boyfriend goes to school here, while I go to SUNY Albany and it’s a lot cheaper. It’s like $29 versus $41 for the bus,” she said.
Christian Nielson, who was traveling to Boston, told NewsChannel 9, “This is my first time since I was in high school. I’m going to a conference in Boston. I would have to pay $35 a day for parking there so I want to avoid that, so I’m trying this.”
Nielson opted to leave his car at the Transportation Center in Syracuse, even if it did take him a little longer to get to Boston by train, rather than by car.
"If I had to drive I would also arrive there more tired than I hope to be here. I like the idea of being able to get up and walk around,” Neilson explained.
Whatever the reason, Amtrak seems to be back on the right track when it comes to ridership.
Amtrak ridership grew by 55 percent since 1997 – faster than other major travel modes and now carries over 31 million riders annually, an all-time high. The short distance routes consistently dominate Amtrak ridership and captured nearly all of Amtrak’s recent growth.