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Roanoke getting on board !


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#1 GaSteve

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 03:16 PM

Hotels offering shuttle service:

http://www.wdbj7.com...-462387433.html

 



#2 LookingGlassTie

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 03:59 PM

That's awesome!


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#3 CHamilton

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 01:15 PM

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#4 GaSteve

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 03:23 PM

Passenger boarding report: http://www.wdbj7.com...-463682543.html



#5 west point

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 07:54 PM

That is not good.  Only an average of 32 passengers boarding and same getting off.



#6 neroden

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 08:33 PM

Those aren't good numbers, but it *has* only been open for two months.

 

As an anecdote, I know someone who went to the Syracuse train station and was surprised at how nice it was... *she hadn't gone there since the 1980s when it was at the old location*.  It can take a while for ridership to build up.  The usual rule is a *year*.


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#7 LookingGlassTie

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 08:42 PM

Those aren't good numbers, but it *has* only been open for two months.

 

As an anecdote, I know someone who went to the Syracuse train station and was surprised at how nice it was... *she hadn't gone there since the 1980s when it was at the old location*.  It can take a while for ridership to build up.  The usual rule is a *year*.

Plus, I think that ridership will go up once more people in that area figure out how the Amtrak route network functions and plan their trips accordingly.  More folks will study the route schedules and determine what their connections should be.  Then you should gradually see more passengers going to and from Roanoke.


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#8 GaSteve

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 08:39 AM

That is not good.  Only an average of 32 passengers boarding and same getting off.

LTE: http://www.roanoke.c...4f10242fc6.html



#9 GaSteve

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 02:39 PM

That is not good.  Only an average of 32 passengers boarding and same getting off.

Check your math.  92 pax a day according to the story.  That's an average of 46 on and off.



#10 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 03:08 PM

Those aren't good numbers, but it *has* only been open for two months.

 

As an anecdote, I know someone who went to the Syracuse train station and was surprised at how nice it was... *she hadn't gone there since the 1980s when it was at the old location*.  It can take a while for ridership to build up.  The usual rule is a *year*.

We were all spoiled by the overnight success of the Lynchburger, which blew past all the Amtrak Virginia ridership forecasts. But the Lynchburger was a kind of junior Crescent, serving the same stations with the same travel times to D.C. and beyond. So plenty people already knew about trains.

 

The Roanoker is more the normal business pattern and the customer base will build slowly from a starting ridership of only 11,000 a year or so, close to what the Norfolk train gets in a month.  Of course, by using Regionals, Amtrak Virginia keeps the costs down, so they could see the Roanoker as a success even with modest ridership.



#11 Thirdrail7

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 07:28 PM

Those numbers are for a month. They are respectable for a new, outlying initial terminal.


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#12 neroden

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 08:01 PM

Sorry, I misread. Yes, it's only been ONE month. Rule of thumb is that ridership doesn't reach its natural level for at least a year, so this is a perfectly respectable starting number.
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#13 Anderson

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 04:10 AM

Those aren't good numbers, but it *has* only been open for two months.

 

As an anecdote, I know someone who went to the Syracuse train station and was surprised at how nice it was... *she hadn't gone there since the 1980s when it was at the old location*.  It can take a while for ridership to build up.  The usual rule is a *year*.

Actually, I think we're at six weeks.  I'd give it a year or two to pass a negative judgment (and IIRC ramp-up generally runs for 3-5 years for a new service; VA has maxed out a bit sooner thus far mainly because they've only added service to places which had it, with the qualified exception of Norfolk (which would roughly be the equivalent of adding a train into San Francisco rather than Oakland, or Portland, OR instead of Vancouver, WA).

That said, these numbers don't thrill me, especially since I presume there was a decent slug on the first day.  Calling it 40 boardings/day outside of day one (and an equal number of alightings) would give just under 30,000 riders/year (versus the 38,000 projected) and put overall ridership on the route at around 205-220k (depending on how many of those riders weren't already taking the train from LYH or CVS), potentially on par with the Pennsylvanian but below the Carolinian for highest single-daily-frequency regional service.  I think there's also room for this to nudge upwards on yields further up the route, so the financial impact might be decent, too.

That being said, the service may be hobbled somewhat by capacity issues (remember, the Lynchburger has been running pretty full into WAS for years): I checked on ticket prices for tomorrow (Dec. 15) and it's $94 o/w to WAS in coach with Business sold out.  Saturday is $94/121.  Sunday shows a single seat left at $49 (no idea whether the next seat is up at $94 or not).  Further out it gets better, but I can't help but wonder if (for example) Roanoke got hosed over Thanksgiving because of space availability issues.

 

Edit: Also, don't forget...the "Norfolk train" sees those riders in a month across something like 7-8 stations.  The Lynchburger already sees the best part of 200k/yr across six stops.  I don't know what the incremental cost of service out to Roanoke is, but given the already solid performance of the train, it is entirely possible that a 10% bump in ridership would render the extension revenue-incremental for the state.  Presuming that 20k of the 30k riders are incremental (probably slightly optimistic) and that their ticket price behavior is in line with existing riders (probably reasonable, and maybe slightly pessimistic) you'd be looking at well over $1m/yr added directly to ticket revenue (and probably at least some cash added to the F&B line as well...something which I'm told is already a positive line for the state on that train).  The bar for this extension to help the state's bottom line out seems to be quite low.

Edit 2: I'm going to be quietly suggesting that the state look into some Thruway options out of Roanoke as well (namely to connect with the Cardinal to/from the west (presumably at Staunton instead of Charlottesville, both due to geography and station crowding problems) and the Crescent to/from the south (at Lynchburg) as well as with any second Lynchburger (at Lynchburg as well)).  I'd consider the Crescent to/from the north on weekends as well (when there's a much larger gap between it and the current train's schedule), but that timing is just bad enough that I don't see that working in the morning.  I'll also add that I think offering some sort of single Thruway connection to the Florida trains would not be a bad idea.


Edited by Anderson, 14 December 2017 - 04:30 AM.

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#14 City of Miami

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 11:15 AM

I'm not sure what makes Anderson think the Lynchburger "has been running full into WAS for years" other than the prices Amtrak tries to get for a ticket. I ride this train more than any other for 5 years now and I have never - not once - seen the train full or sold out. Going south sometimes it can look full up to ALX (1stop) but after than no way, not even in the Quiet Car. I never take BC so I can't speak about that 1 car. I don't ever recall hearing the conductors on this train make the spurious announcement that the train is sold out so you better clear off the seat next to you.






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