Heartland Flyer loses more than $43 per rider in 2012, report finds
Despite losing $2.7 million last year, the Heartland Flyer, which connects Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, Texas, performs better than many Amtrak routes connecting major cities.
Despite losing more than $43 per rider in 2012, Amtrak's Heartland Flyer route, which connects Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, Texas, fared well compared to corridors in other states, according to a report analyzing Amtrak service in the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas issued Friday by The Brookings Institution.
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The Oklahoma City metro area, which includes train stations in Oklahoma City, Norman and Purcell, carried 76,556 riders last year — 0.1 percent of Amtrak passengers nationwide, the report found.
Ridership on the 206-mile Heartland Flyer ranked 41st among Amtrak's routes. The train lost $2.7 million last year.
However, only four routes nationwide operated in the black, and most lost significantly more than the Heartland Flyer, the report shows. For instance, the 2,438-mile California Zephyr, which connects Chicago to San Francisco, cost $112.5 million to operate and lost $62.6 million last year.
Joseph Kane, policy research assistant at the Brookings Institution, said the report reflects a stark difference between Amtrak routes under 400 miles and longer routes like the California Zephyr.
“For short-distance routes, I think it's clear there is a demand for this service, and they are increasing ridership,” he said. Amtrak statistics show ridership in Oklahoma, which includes all stations, increased 4.1 percent in 2012 compared to 2011.
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