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  • NARRATOR: Amtrak is the only passenger railroad service

  • that operates throughout the continental U.S.

  • With about 500 destinations,

  • the service has been operating since 1971.

  • But with high ticket costs, Amtrak is becoming

  • a less viable mode of transportation.

  • In fact, it's often more expensive to take an Amtrak train

  • from New York city to Boston than to fly.

  • Why does the U.S.,

  • a country that created billionaire railroad tycoons,

  • have such an expensive and inefficient train system?

  • Amtrak has has a long history

  • of financial instability since its formation.

  • Passenger trains used to be owned

  • by private companies that operated freight trains.

  • At the start of the 20th century,

  • nearly 42 million passengers traveled by rail

  • as their primary mode of transportation.

  • However, by the 1940s,

  • railroads began to become less popular,

  • as buses, planes, and cars grew in popularity.

  • And by the 1960s, many railways, such as Penn Central

  • and Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway

  • all discontinued most of their trains.

  • Passenger trains were no longer profitable,

  • especially when the U.S. Post Office

  • began shipping mail by truck and air.

  • In an attempt to rescue the service,

  • then-president Nixon signed a law in 1970

  • that ensured government funding.

  • This act created the National Railroad

  • Passenger Corporation, which eventually became Amtrak.

  • Of the 26 railroads offering passenger service,

  • six declined to join Amtrak.

  • Although the railroad service continued,

  • its problems with ridership

  • and financial instability remained.

  • Amtrak competed with other railway companies

  • for train stations and tracks.

  • On its first day of service,

  • passenger trains had to be rerouted

  • from seven train terminals in Chicago into just one.

  • Amtrak also had to pay and maintain

  • multiple train stations in one city

  • due to the lack of track connections.

  • Throughout the early 2000s, the U.S. government

  • attempted to make Amtrak financially self-sufficient

  • by trying to increase ridership

  • and implement the Acela Express,

  • which runs at a maximum speed of 150 mph.

  • But their plans failed, as Amtrak still had

  • a large sum of debt from years of underfunding.

  • To this day, trains still have a low profit margin

  • and rely heavily on subsidies to operate.

  • According to the company's 2017 fiscal year report,

  • Amtrak had a total revenue of $3.3 billion.

  • Unfortunately, this wasn't enough to make Amtrak profitable.

  • It still had a total operating loss of $194 million.

  • Many of the lines don't make any money

  • or are operated at a loss.

  • To accommodate the money-losing routes,

  • Amtrak uses profits from its popular lines,

  • such as the Northeast Corridor.

  • Since this is one of the most popular routes,

  • Amtrak can charge higher prices

  • and send those profits to other, less profitable lines.

  • Additionally, the USA is a very big country.

  • It's the fourth largest country,

  • with about 3.8 million square miles of land.

  • In comparison to Japan, which is smaller

  • than the state of California,

  • the U.S. requires a lot more rail to cover its land.

  • Amtrak trains run on 21,400 miles of track,

  • and only owns about 630 miles of it.

  • For example, between New Rochelle and New Haven

  • on the Boston-New York route,

  • the tracks are owned and operated by Metro North Railroad.

  • This means Amtrak needs to pay Metro North Railroad

  • to run their trains over these tracks,

  • which adds extra costs to passengers' tickets.

  • According to Amtrak's Company Profile,

  • it operated approximately 300 trains a day in 2017.

  • In comparison, SNCF, the French National Railway Company,

  • operated 14,000 trains daily.

  • That's 47 times more trains, serving a nation

  • that has one-quarter of the population of the United States.

  • France is also even smaller than the size of Texas.

  • While Amtrak has lost money every year since 1970,

  • it does intend to return a profit some day.

  • Despite losing $194 million in 2017,

  • that was still 15% less than 2016.

  • And the company has been reducing its losses

  • every year since 2012.

  • Hopefully, consumers won't have to bear

  • the brunt of reducing those losses even more.

NARRATOR: Amtrak is the only passenger railroad service

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为什么美铁这么贵(Why Amtrak Is So Expensive | So Expensive)

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    joey joey 發佈於 2021 年 05 月 29 日
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